Religiophobia shouldn't be a selective exercise: India at UN event

Updated on Jun 19, 2022 06:24 PM IST
  • India at UN: Ambassador TS Tirumurti said India has been one of the greatest victims of terrorism, especially cross-border terrorism and there cannot be double standards on religiophobia.
File photo of India's permanent representative at the UN TS Tirumurti.(PTI)
File photo of India's permanent representative at the UN TS Tirumurti.(PTI)
By, New Delhi

India has been one of the greatest victims of terrorism, especially one cross-border terrorism and there cannot be double standards on religiophobia, the country's permanent representative to the United Nations said at a high-level event on hate speech at the global forum.

Ambassador TS Tirumurti said combating the issue should not be a "selective exercise" involving only one or two religions but apply equally to phobias against non-Abrahamic religions.

Tirumurti addressed an event to mark the first anniversary of the International Day on Countering Hate Speech titled ‘Role of education to address the root causes of hate speech and advance inclusion, non-discrimination, and peace’.

Tirumurti said, "As we have emphasised, combating religiophobia should not be a selective exercise involving only one or two religions but should apply equally to phobias against non-Abrahamic religions as well. Till this is done, such international days will never achieve their objectives. There cannot be double standards on religiophobia,” he said.

The event was organised by the Permanent Mission of Morocco and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and Responsibility to Protect. Tirumurti said India’s multicultural edifice has, over centuries, made it a safe haven for all those who seek refuge in India, whether the Jewish community or Zoroastrians or Tibetans or from its own neighbourhood. “It is this underlying strength of our nation that has withstood radicalisation and terrorism over time,” he said.

It is with this sense of history that India has continued to play a defining role to combat radicalisation and terrorism, and promote tolerance and inclusion, the envoy said.

“Aberrations are dealt with within our legal framework and we do not need selective outrage from outsiders, especially when they are self-serving - even communal in nature, and pursuing a divisive agenda,” he said.

Stating that education has an important role to play in combating radicalisation, violent extremism and terrorism, the envoy called on countries to develop an education system that truly contributes to combating terrorism by promoting the principles of pluralism and democracy.

He said that the greatest bulwark against intolerance and hatred is embracing the principles of democracy, where there are necessary checks and balances and where any aberration is addressed within the confines of the rule of law.

"A society based on pluralism, where every religion is respected, is a sine qua non of tolerance and harmony,” Tirumurti said, adding that pluralistic tradition is recognised in the resolution piloted by the United Arab Emirates and Egypt on the International Day of Human Fraternity.

"India has embraced both these principles - democracy and pluralism. And we call on all countries to adhere to these principles to ensure that intolerance is addressed within a Constitutional framework,” the Indian envoy said.

The statement came hours ahead of blasts at a gurdwara in Kabul's Bagh-e Bala area in which two persons, including a Sikh, were killed and seven others were injured.

On earlier occasions too, India has called for concerted efforts by the international community to combat hate and violence not just against Abrahamic religions but against all religions, including Sikhism, Buddhism and Hinduism.

(With PTI inputs)

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