New Delhi, India: US President Barack Obama weighed in on one of India’s most sensitive topics as he wound up a visit on Tuesday, making a plea for freedom of religion to be upheld in a country with a history of strife between Hindus and minorities.
President Obama spoke for nearly 5 minutes on religious freedom and religious people shouldn’t fear persecution and freedom of religious expression.
Many people are left wondering why Obama brought up religious tolerance in his speech and alluding it’s due to the Sikh petition which got over 100,000 signatures. President Obama remained neutral yet just the fact he mentioned article 25 got people talking.
Now, President Obama didn’t need to bring up the issue of freedom of religion in India during such a historic visit. The fact President Obama did shows the USA is concerned and has recognized the issue of religious tolerance in India.
President Obama brought up religious tolerance many times in his speech at Siri Fort auditorium and stated every person has a right to practice his faith without risk of persecution. He said India will succeed long as it doesn’t get “splintered” on religious lines.
“Every person has the right to practice his faith without any persecution, fear or discrimination. India will succeed so long it is not splintered on religious lines,” Said Obama
“Your (Constitution) Article 25 says all people are equally entitled to the freedom of conscience and have right to freely profess and practise and propagate religion. In both our countries, in all countries upholding with freedom of religion is the utmost responsibility of the government but also the responsibility of every person,” he said.
An online White House petition of 100,000 signatures asking US President Barack Obama to raise the issues of Sikh community during his India visit. The months of hard work by Sikhs for Justice finally paid off when Obama warned India not to stray from its constitutional commitment to allow people to freely “profess, practice and propagate” religion. “India will succeed so long as it is not splintered along the lines of religious faith, as long as it is not splintered along any lines, and it is unified as one nation,” he said in a townhall address to mostly young Indians.
Although, he specifically didn’t mention article 25b but he got every close to it and many are saying it’s better then not bringing up anything at all as now we are at least talking about it.
Obama’s speech, after three days in New Delhi aimed at cementing a strategic partnership, was widely interpreted as a message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist BJP/RSS, whose rise to power emboldened activists to declare India a nation of Hindus.