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 (Aug. 14). 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.
Karavadi Raghava Rao,
* * *
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.
Syed Sultan Mohiddin,
* * *
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.
* * *
India is one of the safest countries for the minorities. It may be new for the U.S. to elect an African-American as President or appoint a Hispanic as a Supreme Court judge. But in India, the President belongs to the majority community, while the Vice-President and the Prime Minister belong to the minority communities.
* * *
Yet another instance of America’s advocacy of its self-proclaimed status of guardian of human rights! What if India comes out with a parallel report spelling out the glaring instances of racial discrimination in American society? Did we not witness the arrest of an African-American professor for entering his own house? What about the war crimes the U.S. has committed in name of the war against terror? Not to mention its Vietnam misadventure.
While the U.S. can justifiably take pride for electing the first ever African-American as its President and nominating Sonia Sotomayor as its first Hispanic Supreme Court Judge, it should still tells us why it took more than two centuries to do so.
Manish Kumar Thakur,
* * *
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.”
* * *
It should be admitted that the victims of communal violence — Christians affected in Orissa in 2008 and Muslims affected during the 2002 Gujarat riots — are yet to get justice. It is important to look inwards and set things right before criticising the USCIRF report, which is factually correct.