‘More virulent forms of religious phobias emerging and taking roots’: India at UNSC

New York, Oct. 13 (India News Network): India on Tuesday cautioned the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) against more virulent forms of religious phobias emerging and taking roots, including anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias.
Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan in his remarks at UNSC High Level Open Debate ‘Peacebuilding and sustaining peace-Diversity, State-building and the search for peace’ on Tuesday said choosing to be selective about criticizing such phobias or ignoring them, can be dangerous.
“As regards religious identities, we are witnessing how member-states are facing newer form of religious phobias,” Muraleedharan told the Council noting India’s stand on the matter.
“While we have condemned anti-semitism, Islamophobia and Christianophobia, we fail to recognise that there are more virulent forms of religious phobias emerging and taking roots, including anti-Hindu, anti-Buddhist and anti-Sikh phobias,” he stated.
“We have seen in our own neighbourhood and elsewhere the destruction of temples, glorification of breaking of idols in temples, violation of gurudwara premises, massacre of Sikh pilgrims in gurudwaras, destruction of Bamyan Buddhas and other religious iconic sites,” the Minister observed.
“Our inability to even acknowledge these atrocities and phobias only gives those forces encouragement that phobias against some religions are more acceptable than those against others. If we chose to be selective about criticizing such phobias or ignoring them, we do so at our own peril,” he said.
Muraleedharan pointed out that terrorism was a clear manifestation of how forces inimical to unity and diversity could seek to destroy the social cohesion and democratic fabric of countries by fomenting disaffection, hatred and violence.
“The increasing spread of terrorism in Africa is a matter of serious concern. What is even more unfortunate is that these terrorist forces and groups are receiving encouragement from member-states which seek to divide communities by legitimizing terrorist activities,” he asserted.
He noted that the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy has clearly reinforced yet again that terrorism cannot be justified under any ground and that no country should provide an excuse for such activities.
Muraleedharan said it was equally important that UN organizations take GCTS as a template and not give any encouragement or excuse, even indirectly, to efforts of member-states to justify terrorism in any way.
He argued that India’s own context offers a unique manifestation of unity in diversity, where inspite of the convulsions caused by the partition, the country still came together as one to form a democratic, pluralistic and inclusive society with our Constitution as the basic bedrock of our polity.
According to the Minister, India has much to offer on how diversity of identities, whether ethnic, regional, religious, linguistic or others, can come together and live as one nation – the common thread binding us, being the identity of being an Indian first, and all others later.
“We believe in the ethos of tolerance and understanding, practicing the age-old ethos of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam – The Whole World is One Family. This is relevant everywhere, including to post conflict societies, for the human race to reach its fullest potential,” he mentioned.
Explaining that it’s time to look at peacebuilding in the broader context and in a more focused manner, especially in the context of COVID pandemic, the Minister said the 2020 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture that concluded last year gave us a new set of ‘twin resolutions’ on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.
He informed that India appreciates that as part of its 2020-24 strategy, the Peace Building Fund has put forth a comprehensive scenario, covering a horizon of five years.
Reiterating that the change in authority in Kabul was neither through negotiations, nor inclusive, Muraleedharan said, India has consistently called for a broad based, inclusive process that involves representation of all section of Afghans.
The expectations of the international community on Afghanistan, including on combating terrorism, are set out clearly in UNSC Resolution 2593. It is important that commitments made in this regard are respected and adhered to, the Minister added.
He asserted that India has always played a constructive and significant role in the context of peacebuilding through its extensive development partnership with developing countries, particularly in Africa and Asia and with LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS.
India has and continues to assist countries bilaterally in post-conflict situations by providing substantial grants and soft loans, Indian MoS for External Affairs further said.

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