US gives half a million dollars to India, Sri Lanka to promote religious freedom

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WASHINGTON: (Christian Times) – In a notice issued by United States (US) State Department, it has been stated that the US government wants religious violence and racial discrimination to decrease in India, and thus has decided to provide half a million dollars to organisations willing to work for this cause. The notice also says that the US wants Sri Lankan officials as well to effectively implement and make the laws and policies in their country that would promote religious freedom and protect it.

The US department demanded suggestions from the organisations willing to attain this grant for implementing a warning system that would reduce violence on the mass level. The organisations seeking the grant have also been told to put forward suggestions to educate the journalists and members of the civil society to give protection to the religious freedom.

According to the information released on the US State Department’s website, Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights and Labor South and Central Asia are running 28 such programs and 17 million dollars have been allocated for them. These include programs for innovation in media and its development, and gender parity. Other countries receiving grants from the US for such programs include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

In a report recently published by International Religious Freedom, the Christians and Muslims living in India believe that the government didn’t take any serious actions for their protection in the face of violence. Extremist Hindus not only perpetrate violence against them but also destroy their houses.

Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) reported that there were 177 attacks perpetrated against Christian in India in 2015 and the number has increased to 300 this year. Most of such attacks were made against missionaries, churches, private properties, schools and for converting Christians to Hinduism.

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