Oppose the visit of United States, Commission for International Religious Freedom to India - Ashok Singhal
Press statement issued by Shri Ashok Singhal, International President, Vishwa Hindu Parishad
United States Commission for International Religious Freedom is a self-appointed committee as an expression of the big brother attitude of USA to enquire into the status of religious freedom in other countries. It was set up in 1998.
US has no moral right to set up such a commission poking its nose into the internal affairs of other nations and this commission has no legal sanction from UNO.
This commission is concerned only about the Christians in other countries whenever there is a hue and cry by the Church that the Christians are persecuted in such countries. They never bother about the status of religious and racial discriminations meted out to other religionists in the western countries including the US.
This commission has prepared a list of 13 countries wherein they feel the Christian missionaries have not been allowed to freely proselytise the local non-Christians disrupting the social fabric in those countries.
This list does not include any country wherein atrocities are perpetrated on the Hindus or the Buddhists like Bangladesh, Malaysia, Indonesia, Afghanistan, etc.
If anyone glances over the pages of the constitutions of the western countries, he will be able to realise that there are many restrictions on the religious freedom of the non-Christians in those countries.
But this so-called Commission for International Religious Freedom would not bother about the religious freedom of non-Christians in those countries. Is there absolute religious freedom for the non-Christians in US?
US is not secular as it proclaims to be. Various court decisions say so. Their laws and institutions are necessarily based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of Mankind.
The operation of judicial system in US is directed by the tenets of Christianity. At least half of the ten commandments are on the statute books in one form or another.
There is a tendency to regard Hindu-based religious movements such as ISKCON, Transcendental Meditation groups, Rajnish groups etc, as cults.
Under the guise of being a cult, a religious organisation can be sued for millions of dollars if even one disgruntled or disappointed former disciple is found who feels he was taken advantage of.
Many Hindu-based and yoga movements in US and other western countries have been sued as cults.
The criticism against cults is that they are outside the cultural religious norms, that they are intolerant of majority religions, that they divide the families and turn individuals against their upbringing.
Precisely this is what the Christian missionaries are doing in India, nay the whole of non-Christian world.
People may believe that in America, all religions are treated equally. But this is not the fact of life.
For example, it is still very difficult for Hindus to build temples in the United States, particularly in areas in which fundamentalist Christians are strong.
To put it in perspective, one would say that it is over ten times harder in America to build a temple where Hindus live in large numbers than it is to build a church.
But in India churches crop up anywhere and everywhere even if there is not even a single Christian living in that area.
There are several restrictions in building temples in US. Temples must not outwardly look like a temple, but should look like a school or Church or the local government would not approve of it.
While there are a few Hindu-style temples in America, these are exceptional and special efforts to be allowed.
The textbooks in the western schools and the western media routinely portray Hinduism as cults, idolatry or even as eroticism.
Booklets and pamphlets denigrating Hindu religion and distorting the Hindu religious literature and epics are frequently distributed hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus in many parts of our country.
To quote Swami Vivekananda in this regard
“...every Christian child is taught to call the Hindus ‘vile’ and ‘wretches’ and the most horrible devils on earth.
“Part of the Sunday school education for children in USA consists of teaching them to hate everybody who is not a Christian and the Hindus especially, so that from their very childhood, they may subscribe their pennies to the Christian missions abroad.
“...Look again at the books published in Madras against the Hindu religion. If a Hindu writes one such line against the Christian religion, the missionaries will cry fire and vengeance.” (Complete Works 1990, Vol. IV; p. 345)
So this commission has never done anything about the prevailing religious freedom in the West with several restrictions.
China has never allowed this commission to visit its country.
This commission has not visited Kashmir, the northeastern provinces and other such areas where the Hindus are a minority and are subjected to atrocities by the non-Hindu majority of those provinces. But it will express its concern over the minor attacks on Christians in Orissa, Gujarat and Karnataka.
We cannot grant any monopoly for the Americans to poke their nose into the internal matters of our country and a government with self-respect should not allow this commission to visit India.
If the government allows this commission to visit India, it would be opposed tooth and nail by Hindus all over the country.
India is a country which gave asylum to the Christians who were persecuted in Syria in Antioch and Damascus even in the 4th century. They have been living here peacefully till this date.
India gave asylum to the Persians when they had to flee Persia fearing forcible conversions by the Arabian invaders. These Zoroastrians who took asylum in Gujarat are all leading prosperous and fearless lives till this date.
When the Jews sought asylum in India after being driven out of their land, they have been taken care of by us. But this was not the case with the countries in the West where the Jews were persecuted.
We don’t need any certificate form the so-called commission about the religions freedom enormously enjoyed by Christians and Muslims in this land. Let US look at its back before poking its nose into our internal affairs.
This US Commission for International Religious Freedom was not allowed to visit India from 1998 to 2008.
But all of a sudden just before the recent elections the Government of India lifted the ban on the visit of this commission probably at the instance of Sonia Gandhi.
One more thing that has to be brought before the world is this—that the C¬¬church is misusing the freedom of religion guaranteed in our Constitution and is indulging in anti-national activities.
The Church has floated several outfits in the name of serving the oppressed and depressed classes in India and fighting for their rights.
In the north-eastern parts of our country alone 18 such outfits are functioning. Several such outfits are operating in the South also. These outfits instigate one community against another resulting in communal clashes.
When a large number of persons of both the clashing communities get displaced from their homes and villages these outfits in the name of setting-up relief camps for them, convert the people. This has been going on systematically for the past sixty years since Independence.
Several Church outfits have been indulging in anti-national activities in the north-eastern areas and tribal areas in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, and Orissa promoting hatred among different communities and disrupting the social fabric.
This was exposed by the Niyogi Commission appointed by the then Congress government in Madhya Pradesh in the fifties.
As recommended by the Niyogi Commission, the Freedom ¬¬¬ of Religion Act was enacted in Madhya Pradesh to be followed by the Congress-ruled Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh and later on in Himachal Pradesh Tamil Nadu and Gujarat by the then ruling parties.
The Church has been protesting against these legislations which restrict only the fraudulent and forcible conversions.
Last year Swami Laxmanananda, who was rendering a yeoman’s service for the uplift of the tribals at Kandhamal District in Orissa was murdered by the Christian miscreants fearing that these service activities of Swamiji would block the road for free conversions among the tribals by the Church.
Similarly, Swami Shanti Kali Maharaj, a Hindu saint, was killed in Tripura for the same reason, a few years back.
In the light of the above facts we demand the setting-up of a commission by Government of India at the national level to probe into the nefarious activities carried on by the outfits backed by the Church in several parts of our country. The commission should also inquire into the flow of foreign funds to such organisations and how the funds are misused for conversions and promoting communal hatred among the different Hindu communities.