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Obama and communal intolerances in India

Obama and communal intolerances in India

US President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama had been the chief guests for the recent Republic day functions in India and departed after praises for the country as well as promises for corporation in various sectors for its progress.

Obama is the first US President to visit the country twice while in office and the visit had been highly successful particularly for the US, with the ties between both nations strengthened and the two countries signing significant deals. Obama’s statements before leaving the country about the religious intolerances in India were thought provoking ones. He had said that “every person has the right to practice his faith without any persecution” and that India would succeed if it’s not "splintered on religious lines”. He said that in India, like in the US, diversity was the strength and “any division along sectarian or religious lines” has to be prevented. Obama concluded that it was the responsibility of the governments and also of every person. His comments about religious division in the world’s largest democracy were taken as a warning to Modi and his team with the media as well as the Opposition playing it out well. The White House later released statements clarifying the hype. But Obama’s statements are of much significance for the modern democratic secular society. Given the economic, military and political interests of the US, it wouldn’t want to ruin the friendly ties with India, the biggest importer of US weapons. So America is most likely to turn a blind eye towards the internal communal conflicts in India.

In the National Prayer Breakfast address in Washington on Thursday, Obama said that India was “full of magnificent diversity” but it was a place where religious faiths of all types have been targeted by people of other faiths, simply “due to their heritage and their beliefs.” The president said that the acts of intolerance in India “would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.” He had visited the memorial to Gandhi in Delhi during his three-day visit to the capital. Obama’s statements are particularly relevant in the context of the recent attacks on the churches in Delhi. The capital witnessed protests and clashes as thousands of Christians took to the streets to protest against the vandalism of churches and questioning the Modi government for its silence. The BJP and the Sangh Parivar had been trying to accomplish their saffronising agendas eroding secularism since they came into power. The minorities including the Muslims and Christians have been widely targeted inviting huge criticism from the rest of the world.

The BJP and its allies have been ignorant of the fact that the rest of the world has been witnessing their efforts to communally divide the people and forcefully impose their fascist agendas on the minority communities. Deliberate attempts to deny the freedom of belief, expression and the rights of the minorities have all been observed by the world. Compared the India, America is far ahead in maintaining the levels of religious tolerance and credible relations intact even after the September 11 attacks. But the scenario is worse in India. The secularism and the religious diversity promised and the fundamental rights and freedom the constitution guarantees would be vanished with the conflicts persisting if the aggravating scenario in the country is not curbed.

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