Religious freedom in India is on the verge of existential crisis

During the tenure of the Modi government in secular India, the festival of deprivation of religious freedom of the people has been going on in various states with the various activities of Hindutva activists.

 Religious minorities are being targeted with various types of state-sponsored terrorist attacks. Many members of the minority community are being killed at the tip of the administration's nose.

 Now the competition has started in the states for the anti-constitutional legislation aimed at depriving the people of their right to convert. 

In some places, minorities are being turned into victims of harassment and torture under the pretext of conversion and 'love' jihad. 

With time, the group of forcibly converting socially and economically backwards Muslims and Christians to Hinduism is being strengthened through the tactical manoeuvring of Hindutva activists called 'Ghar Wapsi' (Back to home or Homecoming). 

Hindutva leaders are publicly announcing that the repatriation campaign will continue until all other religions are completely banned in India. 

Religious freedom is now in extreme danger in India for these reasons. The issue is causing a backlash inside India and in the international arena.



In April 2020, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) virtually blacklisted India for allegedly endangering religious freedom.

 The Commission has listed India as a 'Country of Particular Concern'. In other words, India is one of the countries where the situation of religious freedom is of particular concern. 

And the commission has recommended to the US administration that "appropriate action" be taken against India. 

Taking this "appropriate action" would mean imposing sanctions on India in several cases and denying US visas to those who have endangered religious freedom. India has never been on the list since 2004.

This year's USCIRF report states, "India has passed a law amending citizenship. On this, the Home Minister of the country said in the parliament, NRC or citizen registration will be done all over the country. 

The experience of Assam says that many people will lose their citizenship if there is NRC across the country. There is protection for non-Muslims.

 But not for Muslims. In this case, only Muslims will be harmed if there is NRC across the country in future. The Narendra Modi government, however, rejected the report, saying, "The report is completely one-sided.

 The report of this US commission against India is nothing new. But this time the misrepresentation has gone to a new level. '

At the same time, Kuwait has requested the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to address the growing anti-Muslim sentiment in India. 

Kuwait issued a statement expressing deep concern over Islamophobia in BJP-ruled Hindu-majority India and urging the OIC to take urgent action. 

Kuwait's Minister for Waqf and Islamic Affairs said, "Do those who commit crimes against humanity and violate the rights of Muslims in India think that Muslims around the world will remain silent on this issue?"

 The Muslim countries of the world will agitate against them politically, legally and economically.

The Constitution of India gives every citizen of that country the right to accept, practise, propagate and proclaim any religion freely according to his or her own choice. 

It has also given everyone in the country the right to follow any religion and to convert voluntarily. This created a kind of social bond there. 

But for various reasons, social isolation has increased. Communal divisions have been increased. As a result, the people of India are now confronting social instability in the country. 

It is also affecting the economy. Their GDP is declining, the economic situation is deteriorating. The prices of daily commodities are rising. 

Unemployment and farmer suicides are on the rise. Unprecedented peasant protests are going on all over the country. Concerns about interfaith marriage and conversion are rife in many Indian states. 

Many states are busy enacting laws to prevent all conversions. Because, for the past few decades, conversion in India has been considered as a ‘flawed’ issue. 

The BJP-ruled states, especially Uttar Pradesh, are going to enact legislation, leaving penalties for those involved in the conversion.

 In parallel with these activities of the state governments, extremist Hindus continue to harass and torture inter-religious couples in the name of defending their religion.

Conversion is mainly going on from Hinduism to other religions. The Uttar Pradesh government is planning to issue an ordinance to enforce punitive measures against individuals or organizations involved in the process of conversion. 

According to him, the registration of those organizations or organizations involved in the conversion process will be cancelled. 

They have to face tragic consequences. According to the ordinance, organizations involved in the marriage process must notify the local administration two months in advance.

 The local administration will have the power to determine whether the marriage is legal or illegal. Of course, it will be the responsibility of the converted person and the person or persons involved in the conversion to prove it.

 The ordinance makes special mention of Scheduled Castes / Scheduled Tribes and women. Many states are competing for the passage of anti-love jihad and anti-proselytizing laws. 

Many sections of these laws of different states are unconstitutional. There have been cases where couples and their relatives have been tortured on charges of proselytizing and love jihad. 

Note that the word 'love jihad' or 'Romeo jihad' is being used in India to mean that Muslims are converting non-Muslims to Islam under the guise of love.

During the independence movement of the subcontinent, Arya Samaj started 'Shuddhi Andolan' (Purification Movement!). 

This movement aimed to bring back those who had left Hinduism and converted to other religions. The biggest conversion from Hinduism to other religions in the twentieth century was occurred by Bhimrao Ambedkar. 

This incident tells us what is the main reason for conversion from Hinduism to another religion when Ambedkar returned to the country with his highest degree. 

But he was disgraced in India for being an 'untouchable Dalit' (lower class). He started the movement to ensure the social dignity and dignified life of the Dalit class. His main opinion was that Hindus could not become one race due to high and low caste differences. 

Brahmanical values ​​are predominant in Hinduism. This is why he declared: ‘I was born a Hindu that was not in my hands but I will not die a Hindu’ This revelation forced him to leave Hinduism and convert to Buddhism. 

He simultaneously converted to Buddhism along with three hundred thousand Dalit Hindus who followed him. If the laws on conversion that we are hearing today were enacted then Ambedkar would have to go to jail for sure.

 Considered the 'Architect of the Indian Constitution', Ambedkar was a believer in human freedom. Amid this freedom lies the right of the people to freely choose their religion and to nurture it.

 At the same time, amid this freedom, one has the right not to be a theist or to be an atheist. That is, people have all kinds of religious rights in their freedom. That right has been exercised in India in the past. 

In this way, Islam, Christianity, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism and other religions have spread in India. That is why India has become a pluralistic country.

But today's reality is that in this India if anyone wants to change his religion, he has to face various obstacles. In the history of the subcontinent, there are clear examples of conversions between Islam and Christianity, large and small. 

This conversion has taken place in the history of India for two main reasons. One reason is that people of one caste have been oppressed by people of another caste because of the caste system described in the sacred texts of Hinduism. 

Swami Vivekananda said, ‘The victory of the Muslims in India comes as the liberation of the oppressed poor people. That is why one-fifth of our people become Muslims.

 All this did not happen by the force of the sword. All this has happened by the force of the sword - it is great madness to think so.

 

Swami Vivekananda said, ‘The victory of the Muslims in India comes as the liberation of the oppressed poor people. That is why one-fifth of our people become Muslims.

 All this did not happen by the force of the sword. All this has happened by the force of the sword - it is great madness to think so. 

This happened to get rid of the zamindars (landlords) and Hindu priests and as a result, there were more Muslims than Hindus among the peasants of Bengal. 

Because there were a lot of zamindars there '- these perceptions of Swami Vivekananda are mentioned on page 294 of the twelfth edition of the third volume of' Selected Works of Swami Vivekananda 'published in 1979.

Many conversions have taken place in this subcontinent through social interaction and spiritual exploration. It is also true that many victorious kings have forced the conquered king to convert in a humiliating manner.

 But in India, conversion to Islam was mainly due to the influence of Sufi saints. An example of this is the renowned Indian singer, lyricist and music producer A.R. Rahman. 

He converted from Hindu to Muslim and became AR Rahman under the influence of Sufi saints.

The second phenomenon is the Christian missionary organizations. These missionaries are engaged in education and health development among the backward communities in remote areas of India. 

Through them, many have converted and become Christians. Pastor Stacey was assassinated in 1999 on the pretext of converting Hindus. 

The second phenomenon is the Christian missionary organizations. These missionaries are engaged in education and health development among the backward communities in remote areas of India. 

Through them, many have converted and become Christians. Pastor Stacey was assassinated in 1999 on the pretext of converting Hindus. 

In 2008, anti-Christian terrorist activities were carried out in various places, especially in Kandhamal. It is true that conversions have taken place through Christian missionaries, but not so widely. 

Christian missionary organizations have been operating in India for centuries. Even so, according to the 2011 census, only 2.3 per cent of India's population is Christian. The first church in India was founded by St. Thomas in 52 AD.

The political phenomenon of conversion to Hinduism is not too old. It started after the Narendra Modi-led BJP government came to power in 2014. 

Behind this the culprits are the Hindutva organization Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

 Through this "Ghar Wapsi (Back to home) movement", they are converting Muslims and Christians to Hinduism by creating a lot of fear through various tactics; However, it is being said by them that the victims are not being converted to Hinduism, but they are being brought back to their old religion.

 According to them, they were formerly Hindus and were forcibly converted to Islam or Christianity. Now they are being brought back to Hinduism.

 Then BJP leader Aditya Narayan said the homecoming campaign would continue unless other religions were completely banned in India; Then there was a storm of criticism inside and outside India over this movement. 

But VHP and RSS did not stop their campaign. Forcing cconversionincidents by these goons, reported in Telangana, From states like Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Goa, Agra etc. 

According to Indian media reports, Christians and Muslims who are socially, economically and educationally backwards are being forced to convert to Hinduism by being invited to puja festivals for better education and healthcare including BPL cards and ration cards.

The VHP claims that it has repatriated 25,000 Muslims and Christians to Hinduism in 2018 alone. They are being forced by various tactics to bring them back under the caste system.

 This heinous campaign, which was carried out with the active support of the BJP government, has been widely criticized across India, but the courts are also playing a supportive role in this government-sponsored campaign.

But such activities are also against the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court of India has issued a rule saying, "As a result of this return to Hinduism, the quota facility for returnees will remain intact. 

They were converted to Christianity with the promise of better education and financial opportunities. But in reality, it did not happen. They are as poor as ever." 

 But such activities are also against the Indian Constitution. The Supreme Court of India has issued a rule saying, "As a result of this return to Hinduism, the quota facility for returnees will remain intact. 

They were converted to Christianity with the promise of better education and financial opportunities. But in reality, it did not happen. They are as poor as ever."

When the Apex Court of a country gives such a verdict, there is nothing to say. 



If this continues, how long will India be able to maintain its secular identity in front of the outside world?- that is the question of liberal intellectuals of the country now.

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