Indian religions never discriminate: Modi

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India made no distinction between religions and had no history of attacking other countries or schools of thought. PTI file photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said "all the religions born in India" have never been discriminatory to people belonging to other communities and faith.

He said it is "violence, terrorism, casteism and dynastism" which have clouded the "inclusive" character of the Indian religions, he said.

"The prevailing situation makes Buddha's teachings of 'maitri' (universal loving kindness) and 'karuna' (compassion) much more relevant and necessary today. India is the land of the Buddha. Our government is treading on the path of maitri and karuna shown by Lord Buddha," he said.

The prime minister was addressing a function organised here by his government to mark the occasion of Buddha Jayanti.

The event was attended by the Buddhist monks and other dignitaries from several countries, including Combodia, Bhutan, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Japan.

Modi's remarks comes days after the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) stated in a report that the conditions of religious freedom continued on a "downward trend" in India as the Hindu-nationalist groups sought to "saffronise" the country through violence, intimidation, and harassment of non-Hindus and Hindu Dalits.

"Conditions for religious minorities have deteriorated over the last decade due to a multifaceted campaign by Hindu-nationalist groups like the RSS, Sangh Parivar, and VHP to alienate non-Hindus or lower-caste Hindus," the USCIRF had said.

The US federal government-appointed commission also placed India in the Tier 2 countries ("of particular concern") along with Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Laos, Malaysia and Turkey.

"We are proud of the fact that the central theme of all the ideas that originated from India focus on the welfare of human beings and nature. In those times, others' feelings and sentiments were never encroached upon. Nobody has ever told anyone that you will not benefit if you do not join us. There has been no religious discrimination," Modi said while addressing the event.

In an effort to convey his message to the global community, Modi also noted that India has never been "an aggressors" nor has it attacked any country. "Our tradition, culture and history are its proof," he said.

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Indian religions never discriminate: Modi

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