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Desi global minority index puts India at top, says CAA protest ‘notable sign of status of Muslims’

Week after U. S report claimed religious freedom & related human rights in India under threat, Patna-based Centre for Policy Analysis gives country top rank in inclusivity & global minority index.

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New Delhi: A week after a U. S. Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report claimed that religious freedom and related human rights in India are under ongoing threat, a report released by the Patna-based Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA) awarded India top rank in terms of neutrality of state towards religion, inclusivity and global minority index.

Released Tuesday by former Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, the CPA’s Global Minority Report placed USA in fourth place in the global minority index.

Claiming that this was the first time an Afro-Asian or ‘non-Western’ country had prepared such a report, the report’s author and CPA Patna chairman, Durganand Jha joked, “now they will complain about their rankings, not us”.

The Indian government had earlier rejected the USCIRF report, terming it “inaccurate and biased”. Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson, Arindam Bagchi, had alleged that USCIRF has a tendency to consistently misrepresent the facts which shows the lack of their understanding about India, its constitutional framework, plurality and robust democratic system.

The CPA report places India at the top in the state religion neutrality index and state inclusive index and ranks among the bottom five in the state discrimination index — an indicator of how discriminatory a country’s constitution and laws are towards minority communities.

Released at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts, the CPA report praised India for its inclusivity and treatment of minorities, stating, “The enactment of CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019) and the following demonstrations by the Muslim community to include Muslims too in the list of minorities eligible to get the citizenship of India through an expedited process, are the most notable signs of the status of the Muslims in India. The fact that the persons belonging to religious minorities have been elevated to almost all important positions from time to time in India is an important indicator of the status of the religious minorities.”

It added, however, that “India needs to rationalise its minority policy if it wants to avoid conflictual situations in the country”.

While releasing the report, Naidu said, “Till now, these so-called developed countries were giving sermons to others, but never introspective of what is happening within them. This report is an effort to show reality to the world.”

He added: “Any report should be fact-based, analytical, but what we have been seeing all these years is ‘India bashing’. This has been going on for years, and unfortunately, some Indians have also joined in.”

Referring to the CPA report, the former VP said, “This is an attempt to place an actual situation so that people can study. Let there be a meaningful open discussion without any bias”.

Naidu added that the Indian government’s pro-minority policies show the inclusive nature of the government.

Also read: ‘Bollywood is anti-Hindu’: Top body of Hindu religious leaders wants a ‘Sanatan Censor Board’

Afghanistan tops state discrimination index

According to the CPA report, the aim was to understand the approach of various countries toward their respective minorities and countries with more than one million population were included in the study.

The report stated that owing to resource constraints, countries were assessed on broader parameters such as constitutional provisions, laws of the land, the approach of the state towards minority religionists, public policy, and openness of opportunity towards religious minorities for the highest office.

While the report awarded India 100 out of 100 points on state religious neutrality, state inclusivity index and global minority index, Somalia was placed at the bottom on all three parameters. Afghanistan was placed at the top in the state discrimination index.

South Korea, Japan, Panama and the USA joined India in the top five rankings on the global minority index.

The release of the report at IGNCA was also attended by India’s central information commissioner Uday Mahurkar, IGNCA president Ram Bahadur Rai and the head of Parmarth Niketan Ashram, Swami Chidanand Sarasvati.

Speaking at the event, Mahurkar said the current phase in India was a phase of national reawakening, which should’ve ideally begun after independence. “But after Gandhi ji’s death, certain people came to power who had no faith in Indian culture,” he said, hinting at the Nehru-Gandhi family.

He added: “As a result, roots of Leftist ideology in India were strengthened. The work that should have been done after independence started after BJP came into power in 2014 — whether it was abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir or Ram Mandir’s construction (in Ayodhya).”

While Chidanand Saraswati said the report would give birth to new debate and dialogue, Rai said the report was unique because it was not sponsored by the government, but by citizens.

Saraswati also spoke on the issue of religious conversion, claiming ghar chaukasi (being alert) is more important than ghar wapasi (returning to the original faith). The subject of religious conversion was also touched upon by Jha, who said conversion should be discouraged, especially from majority to minority religions.

The author of the CPA report also claimed human rights were being used as a strategic tool and that the United Nations (UN) should discourage things like the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), based on religion. In the same vein, Mahurkar added that the UN should recognise the report and learn from it.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: ‘Damaging Bharat’s social fabric’: After linking Amazon to conversion, RSS wants NIA probe


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