US admits Indian officials supporting attacks on minorities

29

Some officials in India are ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship in the country, a United States official said late on Thursday after the release of a report on religious freedom globally in 2021.

The report said attacks on members of religious minority communities, including killings, assaults, and intimidation, had occurred throughout last year in India. These included cow vigilantism — assaults on non-Hindus for allegedly slaughtering cows or trading in beef. Most Hindus, who account for about 80 per cent of India’s 1.3 billion people, consider cows sacred.

Many states ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist party have enacted laws or toughened old ones against slaughtering cows.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the report showed religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities were under threat around the world.

“For example, in India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, we’ve seen rising attacks on people and places of worship,” Blinken said. AGENCIES