Religious Law India

The constitution and other laws and policies protect religious freedom and, in practice, the government generally respected religious freedom; however, some state-level laws and policies restricted this freedom. India is a secular republic, with all religions offered equality under the law.
There was no change in the status of respect for religious freedom by the government during the reporting period. Some state governments enforced existing "anticonversion" laws, and some local police and enforcement agencies in certain instances were not swift to counter communal attacks, including attacks against religious minorities.
The country is the birthplace of several religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, and home for thousands of years to Jewish, Zoroastrian, Muslim, and Christian communities. The vast majority of citizens of all religious groups lived in peaceful coexistence and were conscious of religious freedom and minority rights; however, at times, violence between religious groups and organized communal attacks against religious minorities occurred during the reporting period. The Ministry of Home Affairs published in its Annual Report 2009-10 that 826 communal incidents occurred in 2009, in which 125 persons died, compared to 943 incidents in 2008 in which 167 persons died. State governments also reported communal incidents. The country's democratic system, open society, independent legal institutions, vibrant civil society, and free press actively provided mechanisms to address violations of religious freedom when they occurred.
The U.S. government discusses religious freedom with the government as part of its overall policy to promote human rights. During meetings with senior government officials, as well as state and local officials, and religious community leaders, senior U.S. officials discussed religious freedom issues including reports of harassment of minority groups and missionaries, the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, and the 2008 violence against Christians in Orissa and Karnataka.


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