Lat month while in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) I met a cross section of people at different places, I found that the journalists, opinionmakers, TV anchors and business people are appreciative of India’s democracy. At the same time, they are concerned about corrosion of minority rights and religious freedom in India. This is happening on a wide scale all over the world.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed his concern on increasing attacks on places of worship in India. Last Thursday, while releasing the Annual US Report on Religious Freedom around the World, a special mention about disturbing trends in India was made. Another US official, the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom has added, “In India some officials are ignoring or even supporting attacks on people and places of worship.”

The world community is keenly watching the deterioration in religious freedom of minorities, especially that of 20 crore strong Muslims and over three crore strong Christian community. It is very unfortunate that the US Report is continuously mentioning the pitiable condition of religious minorities in India. Last month in a joint meeting Antony Blinken openly said it in the presence of our Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar that “the US is monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some governments, police and prison officials. Jaishankar retorted in a tit for tat manner that “India too has its views about human rights in the US.” It might have pleased some narrowminded people in India. But the world knows about the high degree of difference as regards human rights in US and India.

The fact is that our government has based its policies on anti-Muslim plank. It has given an open lease to fanatics to say whatever they want against Muslims, their beliefs, their religion and their Prophet. The hate against Muslims has been filled in the minds and hearts of large sections of Hindu masses so much so that any wrong portrayal of Islam and Muslims gladdens the hearts of large sections and ensures votes and success in elections.

The concerned citizens are severely perturbed on the deteriorating situation and writing and speaking against these dangerous divide and rule policy. The government must realise that it is playing with fire and endangering the integrity and security of the whole country.

It is a continuing tale of verbal, physical and theoretical attacks against Muslims. Muslims are being pushed to the wall. The world is not blind to these happenings in India. BJP may succeed in winning  state elections and even the parliamentary elections in 2024. But it would certainly destroy the future of social cohesion, amity and fellow feelings. It would be the greatest loss for India.

The dangerous course must be corrected urgently and strict actions must be taken against the evil elements before it is too late.

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