Ground Report | New Delhi: Why PM Modi’s meeting with Pope is important; Prime Minister Narendra is going to meet the Catholic cleric, Pope, this weekend. Since taking office in 2014, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narendra Modi has been facing allegations of being silent on the persecution of minorities. Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, while announcing Modi’s meeting with the Pope at the Vatican on Saturday, simply said it would be “very important”.
Why PM Modi’s meeting with Pope is important?
India has a 14 percent Muslim population while two percent are Christian. Many reports have told that in recent years, attacks on Muslims as well as Christians have increased. The leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which is called the mother body of the BJP, often accuse Christians of converting in India. Due to this dispute, there are also attacks on Christians.
A social organization has said in a report released this month that 300 cases of attacks on Christians have been reported this year. These cases include the October incident in Uttarakhand, in which a church was allegedly attacked by over two hundred members of the BJP and other Hindu organisations. In March, a group attacked a church in Chhattisgarh.
The Bharatiya Janata Party governments have been aggressive on the issue of conversion. At least three BJP-ruled states have passed laws aimed at preventing alleged forced conversions. Dozens of people have been arrested under this law. Many other states are planning to bring similar laws. But critics say that these laws are being used to harass minorities.
Religious Freedom Commission
In 2020, an International Religious Freedom Commission of the US put India on the list of ‘countries of concern’ for the first time since 2004. The Narendra Modi government has been denying the allegations of following a Hindu agenda and has been claiming that people of all religions have equal freedom.
- In March, a mob of Hindu fundamentalists attacked a church with axes, stones and wooden sticks at a church in the central state of Chhattisgarh, leaving eight people seriously injured.
- In August in the same state, a mob of about 100 people beat up a priest and ransacked his house, while the following month a mob barged into a police station and assaulted a priest who was being questioned.
- Anti Conversion Law; At least three BJP-run states have passed laws aimed at preventing “forced conversions” and dozens of people have been arrested. Others plan to follow suit, including in Karnataka where priests have come out in protest.
- In 2020, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom listed India as a “Country of Special Concern” for the first time since 2004.
- Modi’s government rejects having a Hindu agenda and insists that people of all religions have equal rights.
The issue of climate change is likely to be the most heated in the G-20 countries’ conference being held just before the Glasgow climate summit. It is believed that this organization of rich countries will discuss what steps can be taken to stop climate change so that the earth’s temperature can be prevented from increasing by 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
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The news agency Reuters has told that this issue is on the agenda. The draft resolution to be presented in Rome reads, “We are committed to tackling the pressing issue of climate change.” According to the agenda, G20 leaders will say that they believe the effects of climate change can be mitigated if temperatures can be prevented from rising above 1.5 °C.
G-20 countries are responsible for 80 percent of the world’s total carbon emissions. There is a demand that these countries pay 100 billion dollars annually to the poor countries to deal with climate change. Although this target was fixed in 2009 and it was to be completed by 2020 but it could not happen.