New Delhi, January 26, 2012: A delegation of Christians and human rights activists has submitted a report on violations of minority rights and religious freedom in India to the European Union.
The report entitled “Freedom of Religion in India: Joint Stakeholders Report for the Universal Periodic Review 2012″ was submitted yesterday during a meeting between the Indian delegation and the Delegation of the European Union in India in Delhi.
Every four years the human rights situation of a country is assessed by the United Nation’s human right’s council.
The report focuses on the state of religious freedom of the minorities especially of Christians and Muslims, said S Prasad, member, National Dalit Human Rights Campaign.
He said that despite being a secular country, very often “non-state actors in connivance with the state machinery snatch minority rights.”
In many states like Karnataka and Orissa, Christians are not allowed to freely practice their faith by Hindu fundamentalists.
“The report is the outcome of three national consultations held in New Delhi, Bangalore and Bhubaneswar”, said Dhirendra Panda, human right activist from Orissa and coordinator of National Solidarity Forum that coordinated the report.
John Dayal, All India Christian Council general secretary, said the Targeted Violence (Prevention, Control and Reparations) Bill 2011 should be brought into Parliament to safeguard the minorities from the fundamentalist attacks.”
He said the anti-conversion laws that take away the freedom of faith in contradiction to the fundamental right of a citizen should be repealed.
Phillip Oliver Gross, First Secretary, Political Affairs EU said, “We are quite keen to see that human rights are protected and freedom of faith respected and would draw the attention of our members towards the issue during the UPR process”.
Besides Dayal, Panda and Prasad, Fr. Charles Irudayam, Secretary, Office of Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India and Fr. Ajaya Kumar Singh, Orissa Forum for Social Action were the members of the delegation.
The report was prepared by six international NGOs, including Pax Romana (International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs and International Movement of Catholic Students), World Council of Churches and Dominicans for Justice and Peace (Order of Preachers), Geneva and 87 civil society groups in India.
- ajay kumar singh, ucan