Bush under pressure to Manmohan Singh to halt anti-Christian riots in India

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Washington, Sept.25 : US President Bush is under pressure to use a meeting with India's Prime Minister today to press for urgent action to halt the anti-Christian riots that continue to sweep the subcontinent.

At least 45 Christians have been murdered by mobs of Hindu fanatics over the past month, according to church officials.

An estimated 50,000 people have been driven from their villages and 4,000 homes destroyed amid an upsurge in Hindu nationalism.

Amid evidence that the violence is spreading, a US federal commission has called on Bush, a Christian who has worn his faith on his sleeve while in office, to press the issue when he meets the Indian Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Felice D. Gaer, the chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, said: "If India is to exercise global leadership Prime Minister Singh should demonstrate his government's commitment to uphold the basic human rights obligations to which it has agreed ... The Indian government's response remains inadequate."

The criticism comes after condemnation of India's record in policing anti-Christian riots by the Pope and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Singh will be hoping to use his meeting with Bush to help ease a deal past the US Congress that will give India access to American civilian nuclear technology.

The White House has already been instrumental in ending India's decades-old status as a nuclear pariah, giving the country access to outside atomic equipment despite its refusal to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The deal is regarded as an indicator of America's desire to nurture India as a counterforce to the rise of China in Asia.

ANI

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