ASIA/INDIA - Indian Priest to UN: "Need to ensure freedom of religion and the protection of religious minorities"

Saturday, 23 September 2017


Geneva (Agenzia Fides) – It is urgent to guarantee freedom of conscience and religion in India and protect the lives of religious minorities: said Indian Catholic priest Fr. Manoj Kumar Nayak, during the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. In his speech, sent to Fides, Fr. Nayak said. "We appreciate the Government of India’s acceptance and commitment to ensure that laws are fully and consistently enforced to provide adequate protection for members of religious minorities and other vulnerable populations. However, there is a climate of intolerance and fear among minorities, as well as practioners of freedom of expressions, belief, thoughts and assembly in the Country. Despite the commitement to implement the recommendations from first and second UPR (Universal Periodic Review), the Government of India has not formulated a comprehensive law to prevent communal violence against the religious minorities", the priest said. "The Government of India fails to prevent the adoption anti-conversion acts in states such as Odisha, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand and Gujarat that restricts the rights of minorities to practice, propagate and profess their religion. In addition there are documented data about the increasing of criminalization of minorities, dalits and adivasis. There is also the increase of hate speech delivered by State officials which lead to the incitement of violence and discrimiminaton against religious minorities, in contrary to their responsibility to protect them". "We urge the Government of India - continues Father Nayak - to take appropriate and visible actions against incidents of mob-lynching of relgious minorities and the human rights defenders. The Government needs to ensure stringent action against all those who deliver hate speech with the intention of inciting violence and hatred against religious minorities. It should facilitate to reopen 315 cases without any convictions and enhance appropriate compensations in the anti-christian violence, Odisha in 2007-08. It must take all the necessary measures to stop alarming trends of discriminations, xenophobia and related intolerance and create confidence among all the persons in the Country. Finally - concludes Father Nayak – the Indian government should delete paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Presidential Order 1950 because it does not include affirmative action for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims". (MN/AP) (Agenzia Fides, 23/9/2017)