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Attacks Against Minority Communities by Violent Extremist Hindu Groups Continue in India in 2018: US State Department Report

The report also notes that "some senior officials" of the ruling BJP made inflammatory speeches targeting minority communities.

The United States government, in the 2018 International Religious Freedom Report,  stated that mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018.

The annual report is an assessment of the status of religious freedom in almost all countries in the world. Releasing the report, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly said that it is a report card which tracks countries to see how well they have respected this fundamental human right.

The report also notes that “some senior officials” of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made inflammatory speeches targeting minority communities and that the government “sometimes failed to act on mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government. “

It adds that as of November, eight people had been killed and there had been 18 such attacks. Several cases of mob lynching are enumerated in the report, as well as the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua.

Persecution of Christian minority communities also saw an increase, the report notes. “According to the NGO Persecution Relief’s 2017 Annual Report released in January, there were 736 incidents of persecution against Christians in 2017 compared to 348 in 2016,” and that “authorities pursued charges against members of the minority Christian community in several states under religious conversion laws.”

Responding to media queries on the report, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion.”

(With PTI inputs)

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