Religious Tolerance

Religious freedom and tolerance deteriorating in India, says United States panel report

The analysis accused the country’s police and judiciary of being biased and leaving minorities with ‘no recourse’ when they face communal violence.

A new report released on Wednesday has said that religious freedom and tolerance are under threat in India. The analysis by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom was based on violations of rights it found in 2016 and observations of contributing factors, such as national and state laws that restrict religious conversion and cow slaughter, among others.

The document noted that although Prime Minister Narendra Modi had publicly condemned religious intolerance, members of his Bharatiya Janata Party were connected with right-wing groups involved in communal violations. “Hindu nationalist groups – such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Sangh Parivar, and Vishva Hindu Parishad – and their sympathisers perpetrated numerous incidents of intimidation, harassment, and violence against religious minority communities and Hindu Dalits,” the report said, adding that these violations were most “frequent and severe” in 10 of India’s 29 states.

The US panel also accused the Indian police and judiciary of being biased and flawed to “create a pervasive climate of impunity in which religious minorities feel increasingly insecure and have no recourse when religiously-motivated crimes occur”. The report has recommended that Washington express its concerns over the deteriorating state of religious freedom in India and also push the Indian government to take measures to counter the disturbing trend.

The independent panel, however, has used a map of India that marks sections of India-administered Kashmir as Pakistani territory, even though that is not the official US position on the dispute. The analysis, once again, categorised India under its Tier 2 section, which includes nations where the violations engaged in or tolerated by the government are serious.

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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.