The BJP on Monday responded to an editorial in the New York Times, which asked PM Narendra Modi to break his deafening silence on religious intolerance, saying his views on such matters were known and the BJP does not need a lecture from a foreign newspaper on such matter.
“We are proud of our secular credentials. The BJP has always worked to strengthen social fabric. PM’s views on these are well known. He has spoken in BJP meetings about tolerance and restraint. We do not need lectures from foreign newspapers on our cultural heritage,” BJP secretary Shrikant Sharma said. The NYT editorial said that “attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect all of India’s citizens. Nor has he addressed the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money”.
US Body praises Obama
Meanwhile, a US body which has been critical of India’s religious freedom record has praised President Barack Obama’s comment on how Mahatma Gandhi would be shocked by the situation in India. “President Obama’s timely comments underscore the importance of India getting religious freedom right,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, chair of the US commission on international religious freedom, in a statement on Friday.
The statement cited recent attacks on churches, attempts to convert non-Hindus, the killing of Muslims in a Bihar village, and the police detaining John Dayal, a human rights activist.
“India is one of the US’ most important partners,” said Swett. “It is the world’s largest democracy... a deeply pluralistic society, and the birthplace of numerous religions. Our nations share many values, and upholding religious freedom must be one of them.”