India on Wednesday criticised the United Nations General Assembly for not condemning the rising hatred and violence against Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism. Ashish Sharma, the first Secretary in India’s Permanent Mission to the UN, called out the world body for its selectivity.

“India fully agrees that anti-Semitism, Islamaphobia and anti-Christian acts need to be condemned and the country also firmly condemns such acts,” he said at the session on “Culture of Peace”. Sharma, however, added that the UN resolutions spoke of only three religions.

“This august body fails to acknowledge the rise of hatred and violence against Buddhism, Hinduism and Sikhism also. Culture of peace cannot be only for Abrahamic religions. And as long as such selectivity exists, the world can never truly foster a culture of peace.”

— Ashish Sharma

Sharma buttressed his claims with incidents like the shattering of the iconic Bamyan Buddha and bombing of a gurdwara in Afghanistan. Twenty-five people were killed in the bombing in March. “But the current member-states refuse to speak of these religions in the same breath as the first three ‘Abrahamic’ religions,” he said. “Why this selectivity?”

Sharma pointed out that India was home to many religions and not just Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism. “Today, every one of the world’s major religions has a home in India,” he added.

He said India has always fostered the culture of peace through tolerance, understanding, respect for differences, respect for other religions and cultures, respect for human rights and gender equality.

During his speech, Sharma also blamed Pakistan of nurturing a “culture of hatred” against religions in India. He added that if the neighbouring country stops supporting cross-border terrorism, then a genuine culture of peace in South Asia and beyond could prevail. “Till then we will only be mute witness to Pakistan driving away their minorities by threat, coercion, conversion and killing,” he said. “Even people of the same religion are not spared due to encouragement given to sectarian killing.”