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India leads in minority rights among 110 nations: Report

The Indian World Forum appeals to the UN to investigate atrocities on minorities in Pakistan

The Centre for Policy Analysis (CPA), a Patna-based research body, has put India as numero uno in the treatment of its minorities. In the first of its kind of report by an Indian institution, the CPA says that only India accords special minority rights to its religious minorities while Western countries provide for equal rights to all their citizens.

Former Vice President of India, Venkaiah Naidu, released the report that ranks 110 countries on the basis of their approach to their respective religious minorities–inclusiveness of minority religions, religion-oriented discrimination and their attitude towards various sects.

India has been ranked at the top by the Global Minority Report, followed by South Korea, Japan, Panama and the US in being inclusive to their minorities.

Some of India’s neighbours in South Asia fare poorly. Pakistan is ranked at 104, Maldives at 108 and Afghanistan at 109. The last country in its treatment of minorities is Somalia at 110.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Naidu said that for a long time Western nations have been giving sermons to India without looking within. He said: “What we have been seeing is India bashing. Unfortunately it is not just people abroad who are criticising India but Indians themselves are doing it”.

Naidu said that some of the developed countries are not able to digest India’s progress, stability and peace. “Let there be an open and meaningful discussion without any bias”, adding that any report should be fact-based and close to truth.

He said that the Hindu civilisation is a broad cultural identity and is not narrow. “India is a crucible of religions, races, language and culture”.

This is the first time that an Indian body has made an attempt to rate other nations on the basis of their treatment of religious minorities. The report also discusses contentious issues like conversions, blasphemy laws and ‘propagation of religion’.

Durga Nand Jha, chairman of the CPA and author of the report said that his organisation was propelled to conduct research on minority rights in India after former US president Barack Obama made some negative comments on religious freedom in India. Jha said: “We noticed that only India is providing minority rights to its people through the constitution. No other country gives special rights to minorities. Europe gives equal rights to all people but no special rights to minorities”.

The CPA has suggested that the United Nations (UN) makes it mandatory for every country to submit an annual minority rights compliance report. It also says that this report should be discussed at international forums including the UN.

Uday Mahurkar, Central Information Commissioner and former journalist, said that the report has been launched at a time of national re-awakening. “Religion rights violation has become a weapon with many countries. Minority rights is a sacred issue in India but has been made into a political issue”.

Swami Chidanand Sarawati, president of the Parmarth Niketan Ashram, said that this report will go a long way in opening up a debate because there is a hidden agenda in international rankings on India.

Ram Bahadur Rai, president of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) said that the Global Minority Report should be discussed at all international forums including the UN.

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