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India Most Inclusive Nation for Religious Minorities, Model May Be Used by UN: Global Minority Report

By: News Desk

News18.com

Last Updated: November 29, 2022, 17:33 IST

New Delhi, India

The report speaks about the obligations of religious minorities to safeguard the integrity and national interest of the country they reside in. (Representational pic/PTI)

The report speaks about the obligations of religious minorities to safeguard the integrity and national interest of the country they reside in. (Representational pic/PTI)

India is a country where there is no ban on any sects of any religions, unlike in many other countries, the report by Centre for Policy Analysis points out

The Centre for Policy Analysis, a research organisation, has prepared a report on various countries towards their respective religious minorities. And India tops the list of countries on counts of inclusiveness and treatment of religious minorities.

The report, as far as India’s minority policy is concerned, says its model focuses on the promotion of diversity.

“In the Constitution of India there are special and exclusive provisions for the cultural and educational promotion of religious minorities. In no other Constitution are there special provisions in place for the promotion of religious and linguistic minorities,” the report states.

India is a country where there is no ban on any sects of any religions, unlike in many other countries, it points out.

“Therefore, India’s minority policy may be used as a model by the UN for other countries because of its inclusive character and non-discriminatory nature regarding different religions and their sects,” it says. “However, very often, it does not have the desired results as there are many reports of clashes on different issues between the majority and minority communities, particularly with the Muslim community. This calls for a review of India’s minority policy. India needs to rationalise its minority policy if it wants to avoid conflictual situations in the country.”

The significance

The Global Minority Report prepared by CPA is also to sensitise the international community about the state of religion-oriented discrimination against minorities in various countries.

This report also reflects on the concerns that various religious communities and sects face in different countries.

“The importance of this report lies in it being the first international report that grades countries on the basis of their approach to their respective religious minorities. Besides, it is the first report by an organisation of non-Western and Afro-Asian countries in which indexing of various countries has been done on certain parameters. The overall approach of this report is curative and it is in the interest of all religionist since no religionists have a majority in all countries. If the followers of a religion are in the majority in some countries, they are in the minority in some countries,” says Durga Nand Jha, executive chairman, CPA.

The method

In this report, the grading of countries has been done on the basis of the approach of the state towards minority religions and religionists, the extent of the inclusiveness of the state towards religious minorities, and the discriminatory policies and practices of the state towards religious minorities.

It was astounding to note that there are many countries which are considered poor and underdeveloped, yet their religious policies are more progressive in comparison to those of many developed and rich countries, says the report.

The Global Minority Report is classified into three sections. The first deals with the conceptual issues relating to human rights, minority rights, the concept of religious freedom and its fallacies, and how to balance them. It also discusses issues related to culture, the dilemma of religious minorities, and the causes of religious differences. Major factors behind the repercussive policies of any atheist or secular country towards religious minorities. It also discusses multiple issues related to religion, conversion, and culture.

Religions are divided into broad groups and the difference in their fundamental orientation has been explained.

The second section talks about the minority policies of various countries. India’s minority model is explained as a special case study whereas case studies of various other countries are also constituted. The report finds India as the most inclusive country among compared 110 countries on set parameters.

The third section is the statistical section presenting the four different indices as State Religion Neutrality Index, State Inclusive Index, State Discrimination index and Global Minority Index. All the indices constitute a set of indicators of the status of religious minorities in a country.

G20 countries are also separately discussed. In the end, on the basis of the outcome of the study, some recommendations are prepared for the United Nations and other countries.

‘Obligations’ of minorities

The report speaks about the obligations of religious minorities to safeguard the integrity and national interest of the country they reside in. The report states when the state can be challenged, the United Nations should not ignore the obligations of the minorities to the nation.

“Moreover, the conferment of certain rights must be made conditional to the fulfilment of minimum obligations spelt out for them. Minority rights should not be an instrument to blackmail any country. Therefore, while this report supports all the rights recommended for minorities by the UN, it also feels strongly that certain obligations should be decided for the recipient of the rights in order to make the relationship between the State and its minorities cordial, as also to banish the ‘trust deficit’ between them,” stated the report.

If minority groups challenge the territorial integrity of a country, the upholding of minority rights becomes difficult, it said. “There are many countries which are facing this problem. If religious minorities challenge the sovereignty of a country, the relationship between the minorities and the State in such a situation gets marked by a ‘trust deficit’. In these circumstances, the State has to take punitive steps against the minorities, resulting in their persecution,” the report said.

The report also states that the non-recognition of minorities is a big issue.

“There are some sects in both Abrahamic religions who do not get their status recognised as minorities and, many a time, face inimical treatment. For example, the Ahmadias and the Baha’I in Islamic countries, and Jehova’s Witnesses and Scientology in Christianity dominated countries get an unfavourable treatment. There are many countries where sectarian minorities are facing the problem of recognition. For example, large sections of Alevi want to be regarded as minorities; but Sunni Muslim dominated Turkey is reluctant to accord them that status. Therefore, it is important that a criterion should be determined at the international level to qualify for minority status in a country,” says the report.

It also states that blasphemy laws should be declared either unwarranted or they must be less punitive. “The severity of the situation can be understood from the fact that there is a provision of the death sentence for blasphemy in many countries, such as Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, just to name a few,” adds the report.

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first published:November 29, 2022, 16:53 IST
last updated:November 29, 2022, 17:33 IST
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