In parting shot, Obama prods India on religious freedom

 In parting shot, Obama prods India on religious freedom

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama wave to the crowd at the Rajpath saluting base following the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi, India. January 26, 2015.

By Frank Jack Daniel and Roberta Rampton

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama weighed in on one of India’s most sensitive topics as he wound up a visit on Tuesday, making a plea for freedom of religion to be upheld in a country with a history of strife between Hindus and minorities.

Hours before boarding a flight to Saudi Arabia, Obama warned India not to stray from its constitutional commitment to allow people to freely “profess, practice and propagate” religion.

“India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith, as long as it is not splintered along any lines, and it is unified as one nation,” he said in a townhall address to mostly young Indians.

Obama’s speech, after three days in New Delhi aimed at cementing a strategic partnership, was widely interpreted as a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), whose rise to power emboldened activists to declare India a nation of Hindus.

“The message is that India is a democratic country, it is not a Hindu country or a Christian country, it is all together, India has respect for all religions,” said Imam Umer Ahmed Ilyasi, a Muslim priest who heads the All India Imam Organisation, after the speech. He was standing with a Hindu holy man from one of India’s pilgrimage towns, Rishikesh.

Read more at the Business Standard

Categories: Asia, Foreign affairs, History, India, Politics, Religious persecution, World history, World news

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1 reply

  1. A truly historic meeting, President Obama being the first US President to attend the Republic Day parade.

    A trade agreement is essential, and I’m glad President Obama is pushing for it.

    I love the fact that Obama had the courage to mention the treatment of women.

    With Nobel peace laureate Kailash Satyarthi in attendance, it made for a star studded cast.

    A great partnership for the US and India.

    Liked by 2 people

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