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Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL5694, tabled on 12 March 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the position of the government of India in respect of campaigns in that country to convert non-Hindus to Hinduism; and what is their assessment of the impact of such action on religious minorities in that country.

Answered on

26 March 2015

We are aware of the Hindutva movement, a form of Hindu nationalism in India. However, the Constitution of India guarantees freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion. The Indian government has a range of policies and programmes to support religious minorities. More recently, Prime Minister Modi reassured religious groups that every citizen has the right to follow any faith without coercion and vowed to protect all religious groups in India. However, we are aware that incidents of discrimination against minority communities do happen. British Ministers and officials from our High Commission in New Delhi discuss religious and minority issues with the Indian National Commission for Minorities and senior faith leaders. Most recently Minister of State at the Home Office with responsibility for Crime Prevention, my right Hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), met the Indian Minister for Minorities in January. During their visit to India in February, the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association also met the Indian Minister for Minorities and discussed religious freedom. We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the new Indian government about religious and minority rights issues.