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22 Jan, 2020 10:56

India is not a ‘theocratic’ state like Pakistan & America, defense minister claims

India is not a ‘theocratic’ state like Pakistan & America, defense minister claims

Unlike Pakistan and the United States, India is a secular country that tolerates all religions, Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has claimed, amid ongoing citizenship bill disputes.

Speaking in Delhi on Wednesday, Singh argued that India could not be described as theocratic because it has never had an official religion.

He accused neighboring Pakistan of being a “theocracy” because it “declared that their state has a religion,” noting that India has always remained secular.

Even America is a theocratic country. India is not a theocratic country. Why? Because our saints and seers did not just consider the people living within our borders as part of the family, but called everyone living in the world as one family.

He argued that “Indian values” teach that “all religions are equal,” and that all faiths are welcome.

Islam is the state religion of Pakistan, and an estimated 95 percent of Pakistanis identify as Muslim. The country has experienced a string of high-profile cases involving the kidnapping and forced conversion of religious minorities.

Singh’s comments come as the country’s Supreme Court considers legal challenges against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The new citizenship bill, which fast-tracks naturalization for religious minorities arriving from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan, has been criticized as discriminatory for not extending to Muslims. New Delhi has defended the CAA as a much-needed humanitarian measure, and has blamed “rumors” spread by political rivals for violent protests against the law.

Also on rt.com India’s Supreme Court refuses to suspend citizenship act, gives govt 4 weeks to respond to petitions

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