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US state department report says India does not prosecute violence by vigilantes

The US state department said in an annual religious freedom report released on Tuesday that authorities in India “often did not prosecute violence by vigilantes against persons, mostly Muslims”, trading in or consuming beef.

india Updated: May 29, 2018 23:41 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Washington
US state department report,India,vigilante
The US report said there were several violent incidents by cow protection groups against mostly Muslim victims, including killings, mob violence, assaults, and intimidation. Authorities often failed to prosecute those committing the attacks.(HT File)

The US state department said in an annual religious freedom report released on Tuesday that authorities in India “often did not prosecute violence by vigilantes against persons, mostly Muslims”, trading in or consuming beef.

“Members of civil society and religious minorities stated that under the current government, religious minority communities felt increasingly vulnerable due to Hindu nationalist groups engaging in violence against non-Hindu individuals and their places of worship,” the annual report on the state of religious freedom around the world said.

The report, which excludes the US, said that “while the national government sometimes spoke out against incidents of violence, local political leaders often did not”, citing minority community representatives.

The state department publishes reports every year about US view of the state of civil rights and religious freedom around the world, as mandated by US Congress. However, these reports have also raised questions and faced criticism at home for ignoring similar challenges in the US, specially under President Donald Trump — his administration has been under fire for the discriminatory travel ban on people from some Muslim-majority countries.

Secretary of state Mike Pompeo, releasing the report, said the US plans to call a ministerial meeting on religious freedom on July 25 and 26 with government and religious leaders, rights advocates, and civil society from around the world.

On India, the report, based largely on published news accounts and commentary, said: “There were reports of religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism, and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs and proselytise.

“There were several violent incidents by so-called ‘cow protection’ groups against mostly Muslim victims, including killings, mob violence, assaults, and intimidation. Authorities often failed to prosecute those committing the attacks.”

First Published: May 29, 2018 23:34 IST