Monday, August 17, 2009

India on ‘watch list’

This refers to the report that the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has placed India on its “watch list” for 2009 because of its “failure” to take effective measures to ensure the rights of religious minorities in many States. India does not need lessons on secularism and religious tolerance. It is the land of the Upanishads and the Vedas which preach universal brotherhood and peace. The U.S. should introspect on its role in Iraq. The pot should not call the kettle black.

The USCIRF report deserves the highest condemnation. India is one of the peaceful and harmonious places to live in, compared to many countries. The gun culture and moral deterioration, which has spread among even schoolchildren in the U.S., are nothing but the offshoot of American policies. While there can be no two opinions on the need to ensure religious harmony, India’s integrity in achieving the objective cannot be questioned, least of all by the U.S.

Aren’t phrases such as ‘Islamophobia’ and ‘Islamic terror’ the contributions of the Bush regime? How does the U.S. justify its acts of state terrorism such as the carpet bombing of civilian areas in Afghanistan and Iraq, the torture cells of Abu Ghraib, wrongful detentions in the Guantanamo Bay, and interference in the affairs of other countries in the name of exporting democracy? Curiously, the USCIRF which has included countries such as Cuba, Venezuela, Egypt and Turkey in the “watch list” has nothing to say about Israel.

In a population of over one billion, unwanted incidents do happen thanks to some misguided elements. But do they warrant putting India on a “watch list?” Surprisingly, Pakistan — in parts of which the minorities have been asked to pay religious tax — doesn’t seem to figure in the list. It is, in fact, the U.S., where every Muslim is looked upon as a potential terrorist, which should top the “watch list.”

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