India, under the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is undergoing immense rise of religious-nationalist vigilante groups and worsening social discrimination, posing a grave threat to the religious freedom of minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians. This concern was expressed by the British parliamentarians in a debate secured by MP Jim Shannon at the Westminster Hall on Thursday, terming as “most worrying and disturbing” the situation in India with regard to minorities, particularly Muslims, Christians and other ethnic groups. He said that despite Modi’s pledge to commit to “complete freedom of faith” since his election in 2014, there had been a significant increase in anti-minority rhetoric.
MP Sir Edward Leigh (Gainsborough) said the Indian government had undoubtedly set an anti-Christian and anti-Muslim tone with a fact that violent intimidation at street level did the most harm. Almeida mentioned that riots in north-east Delhi last year resulted in Muslim homes and businesses being destroyed; of the 53 dead from six days of violence, two-thirds were Muslims—who had been shot, slashed or set on fire. Naz Shah (Bradford West) quoted the words of India author and politician Shahi Tharoor who had said that “It’s time the Modi government learned they cannot promote ‘Make in India’ abroad while condoning the propagation of ‘Hate in India’ at home.” MP Stephen Timms (East Ham) said for last two years, India had been in 10th place on that list of the worst countries for the persecution of Christians, and the position was not going to improve.
MP David Linden (Glasgow East) said analysis of instances since 2014 demonstrate that Hindu extremists had created an environment of hate and intolerance towards India’s religious minorities, primarily its Christian and Muslim communities. All these parliamentary leaders highlighted the increasing cultural and religious intolerance and hostilities in India.