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India: Blasphemy

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN 184571, tabled on 20 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent discussions he has had with his Indian counterpart on the application of blasphemy laws in that country.

Answered on

28 April 2021

India has a proud history of religious tolerance and we look to the Government of India to address concerns raised about articles in the Indian Penal Code which relate to religion. Human rights forms a regular part of our dialogue with the Government of India. On 15 March, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, the Minister of State responsible for Human Rights and South Asia, discussed the situation for Christians with India's Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kishan Reddy. Our Acting High Commissioner in New Delhi also discussed UK Parliamentary interest in minorities in India with officials from India's Ministry of External Affairs on 5 January, and a senior FCDO official discussed the situation for India's religious minorities with the Indian High Commissioner on 29 December 2020

Staff in our diplomatic network across India regularly meet religious representatives and have run projects promoting minority rights. Over the last three years, they have worked with local NGOs to bring together young people of diverse faith backgrounds to work together on social action projects in their local communities and promote a culture of interfaith tolerance. This year, they supported an interfaith leadership programme for a cohort of emerging Indian faith leaders, creating an opportunity to exchange expertise on leading modern, inclusive faith communities.