India: US State Department Report Discusses Violence Against Minorities

The U.S. State Department's 2023 religious freedom report on India highlights a rise in violence against minority groups, particularly Muslims and Christians, involving killings, assaults, and vandalism of places of worship. Human rights experts say that India has seen an increase in violence under Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who recently secured a third term.

Despite the U.S.'s close economic ties with India, political analysts note that Washington's criticism of India's human rights record remains cautious due to strategic interests in countering China. 

“In India, we see a concerning increase in anti-conversion laws, hate speech, demolitions of homes and places of worship for members of minority faith communities," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated after the report was released.

The Indian government denies any discrimination, citing inclusive welfare policies. However, minority rights advocates argue otherwise, pointing to anti-Muslim rhetoric, the revocation of Kashmir's special status, discriminatory citizenship laws, and the demolition of Muslim properties. Additionally, the report explicitly details ethnic violence in Manipur, where over 250 churches were burned, more than 200 people killed, and over 60,000 people displaced.

India's population is predominantly Hindu (80%), with Muslims (14%) and Christians (over 2%) comprising the minorities. 

The full article is available on the website of Reuters.