Amid lynching and hate crimes, Indian government says minorities safe in the country

New Delhi (IANS): The central government on Thursday said that the rights of minorities are more safe and secure in India compared with the rest of the world, and that “secularism, social and communal harmony and tolerance” are in the country’s DNA.

The remarks came days after a letter from the Archbishop of Delhi talked about the “turbulent political atmosphere” in the country.

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Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi met a delegation of Diocese of Delhi-Church of North India and assured it that the government was working with commitment towards equitable development of all citizens without any discrimination.

He said that the constitutional, social, cultural and religious rights of minorities were more safe and secure in India compared with elsewhere in the world.

“Social and communal harmony is our culture and tolerance is our commitment… all of us have to work together to protect and strengthen this culture and commitment,” a statement quoting Naqvi said.

The Minister added that the Narendra Modi government was moving towards “inclusive growth to ensure that not a single Indian is deprived of the light of development”.

“The government is committed to protect all constitutional institutions, democratic values and religious rights of all sections,” he said.

The Archbishop of Delhi, Anil Joseph Couto, in his May 8 letter had asked the priests and churches in Delhi to hold a year-long prayer campaign for the country to protect its democratic principles and secular fabric ahead of the 2019 general elections “when we will have new government”.

Making a veiled attack on the Archbishop, the Minister said that India “needed to be cautious against forces which want to disturb the atmosphere of trust and development due to their prejudiced mindset and vested interests”.

He had on Tuesday asked the Archbishop to “shed his prejudiced mindset against the Modi government”.

Naqvi claimed that the work done for the socio-economic and educational empowerment of minorities in the last 48 months had not been done even in 48 years.

Naqvi said that he regularly meets delegations of minority communities to take stock of ground reality to ensure that the schemes aimed at their socio-economic and educational empowerment are implemented effectively.