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Indian President challenged on religious persecution

As the 14th EU-India summit starts, the religious freedom group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) have asked EU leaders not to "turn a blind eye" to the oppression and torture in India of religious people. The situation for religious citizens has worsened under the current government. The right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party has been accused of inciting hatred and riots against Christians and other faith groups and are the political arm of the nationalistic Hindutva ("Hinduness") movement.

Anti-conversion laws exist in seven of the 29 states and lawyers allied with ADF in India have reported cases of assaults on missionaries, attacks on churches and the intentional killing of Christians.

Sophie Kuby, Director of EU Advocacy for ADF International, based in Brussels said: "No person should live in fear of being killed, tortured, or oppressed because of their religious beliefs. The EU should not sacrifice the human rights it claims to protect for the sake of a free trade agreement."

She added: "As long as the severe and continuing violations of the right to religious freedom do not have an impact on trade agreements, we cannot speak of a coherent EU commitment to human rights. Religious freedom needs to become a precondition to economic cooperation."

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