Modi should break silence on religious intolerance: NYT
As President Barack Obama's comments that religious intolerance in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi raised a storm in India, the New York Times asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his "deafening silence."world Updated: Feb 07, 2015 15:46 IST
As President Barack Obama's comments that religious intolerance in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi raised a storm in India, the New York Times asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his "deafening silence."
"What will it take for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out about the mounting violence against India's religious minorities?" asked the influential daily in an editorial titled "Modi's Dangerous Silence"
"Attacks at Christian places of worship have prompted no response from the man elected to represent and to protect all of India's citizens," said NYT. "Nor has he addressed the mass conversion to Hinduism of Christians and Muslims who have been coerced or promised money," it said.
"Modi's continued silence before such troubling intolerance increasingly gives the impression that he either cannot or does not wish to control the fringe elements of the Hindu nationalist right," the Times suggested.
Citing Obama's speech in New Delhi last month that "India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith," it said "Modi needs to break his deafening silence on religious intolerance."
Meanwhile, the bipartisan US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) commended Obama for deepening relations with India while also recognizing religious freedom concerns during his India trip and at National Prayer Breakfast Thursday.
"President Obama's timely comments underscore the importance of India getting religious freedom right," said USCIRF Chair Katrina Lantos Swett. "This is a challenge that India must and can address, given its diversity and long history of democratic values," she said noting Obama's "concerns come at a time of increasing abuses against India's minority religious communities."
Since 2009 USCIRF has designated India as a Tier 2 country, noting since 2014 increased communal and religiously-motivated attacks and slow and ineffective redress for victims of past incidents, leading to a culture of impunity.
The White House had earlier sought to temper Obama's remark with a spokesperson saying saying, "Mahatma Gandhi's legacy is one we look to for inspiration in dealing with intolerance in the United States and around the world."