Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bush urged to discuss religious violence with Indian PM Manmohan Singh

Washington : Taking note of the recent violence against the Christian community in India, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has urged President George W Bush to raise the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during their meeting on Thursday.

"The US government can and should urge the Indian central government to make more vigorous and effective efforts to stem violence against religious minority communities," USCIRF Chairman, Felice Gaer, said in a letter to Bush.

"If India is to exercise global leadership as the largest and perhaps most pluralistic democracy in the world, Prime Minister Singh should demonstrate his governments commitment to uphold the basic human rights obligations to which it has agreed, including the protection of religious minorities," Gaer told the President while pointing out the attacks on Christians in the State of Orissa.

"The Indian governments response to the egregious violence in Orissa remains inadequate. When it was quickly evident that Orissa state police were unable to contain escalating violence in December 2007 and during the current riots... The central government has also yet to commit to a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation in the current Orissa violence," the Chair of the USCIRF notes.

"We support Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's pledge to offer urgently-needed assistance packages to survivors of the communal riots in Orissa. However, post-riot humanitarian aid does not obscure the need for both the Orissa state and the Indian central government to take action to address persistent sectarian tensions in Orissa, and to prevent future eruptions of violence. We request that you, Mr President, convey these concerns to the Prime Minister" she said.