US draws attention to 'organised communal attacks' in BJP-run states

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Washington, Sep 20 (UNI) The Bush administration has drawn attention to ''organised communal attacks'' against minority religious groups, particularly in states governed by the BJP.

Its International Religious Freedom Report 2008, released by the State Department yesterday, also criticised Orissa for the violence in the Kandhamal district.

The report said that the national government generally respected religious freedom in practice, however, some state and local governments imposed limits on this freedom.

It added that some state governments enacted and amended 'anti-conversion' laws and police and enforcement agencies often did not act swiftly to effectively counter communal attacks, including attacks against religious minorities.

The report pointed out that the government of Rajasthan passed an 'anti-conversion law' that, similar to other laws of its kind, restricts and regulates religious proselytism. However, at the end of the reporting period, the Governor had not yet signed the new law.

The State of Gujarat implemented its 'Freedom of Religion' Law initially passed in 2003 and withdrew an amendment that would have defined 'conversions' as occurring only between denominations and not between religions and would have classified Jains and Buddhists as denominations of Hinduism, the report said.

This law requires prior permission from the Gujarat Government for a conversion ceremony, it added.

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