New Delhi: The US state department, in its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report, alleged that some senior officials in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party made inflammatory speeches against the minority communities and mob attacks against minority communities by Hindu extremist groups continue in India. It said mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year 2018, amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef.
The report said that as of November, 2018, there were 18 such attacks, and eight people killed during the year. It added, the authorities often protected perpetrators from prosecution.
Releasing the report at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the state department, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the report, which gives assesses the status of religious freedom in almost all the countries and territories of the world, is to track countries to see how well they have respected this fundamental human right.
The India section of the report said, nongovernmental organizations reported that the government “sometimes failed to act on mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalized communities and critics of the government.”
The state department also said, “Proposals to rename Indian cities with Muslim provenance continued, most notably the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj. Activists said these proposals were designed to erase Muslim contributions to Indian history and had led to increased communal tensions.”
The annual report also added that there were cases of religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs and proselytize.
According to the 2011 national census, the most recent year for which disaggregated figures are available, Hindus constitute 79.8 per cent of the population, Muslims 14.2 per cent, Christians 2.3 per cent and Sikhs 1.7 per cent.