The external affairs ministry has hit back at the US state department’s report on religious freedom in India. It states the factual position about India’s secular Constitution that allows absolute freedom to individuals to follow any religion, etc. What it doesn’t accept is that there could be some truth in the report listing certain incidents of cow vigilantism leading to the deaths of members of a minority community.
It’s only a coincidence that the report was published a few days before secretary of state Mike Pompeo visits India. This could prove a pressure point in the talks on trade and strategic ties. As a State, India responded to multiple incidents by looking the other way. Such horrors may have been staged by fringe groups taking advantage of changing political dynamics that may encourage hardline Hindutva elements in the Hindi heartland, but they should be eradicated.
There were two ways India could have responded to this report. The first may have involved undertaking similar studies that would show the United States is a bad place for people of colour, so too China for Uighur Muslims and Pakistan for Hindus and Sikhs. The second option would be harder but morally correct — accepting that introspection is needed over what threatened to turn a rampant social phenomenon at one point.
If we want to be a better nation, where fair treatment is accorded to people of all religions, we must face up to what is pointed out than be abrasive because someone else is saying it. We have to build the nation by pointing it in the right direction — that is what dharma means....