From the category archives:

Press release

Testimony on the eve of Modi’s address to US Congress highlights his administration’s active contribution to religious freedom violations in the face of judicial ineffectiveness
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wednesday June 8, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), today joined representatives of internationally recognized institutions such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to testify before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington DC at the hearing titled ‘Challenges & Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India.

IAMC’s testimony, delivered by its Communications Director, Mr. Musaddique Thange, was a forthright exposition of the role played by India’s current administration and its espousal of the divisive Hindutva ideology in brutal human rights violations of religious minorities. The testimony included recommendations on how the US could play a constructive role in improving the situation while respecting India’s sovereignty.

Besides IAMC, other witnesses that testified at the hearing were Mr. Jeff King, President, International Christian Concern; Mr. John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch; Mr. T. Kumar, Asia Advocacy Director, Amnesty International; Ms. Martina E. Vandenberg, Founder & President, The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center; Mr. Raj Cherukonda, Representative, Dalit American Federation and Mr. Ajit Sahi, human rights activist & investigative journalist, formerly with the Tehelka Magazine.

tomlantos

The hearing, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA) and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), sought to “provide concrete recommendations for how U.S. policy makers can most effectively encourage the protection of human rights given the strategic importance and continued growth of the U.S. – India bilateral relationship.”

Mr. Musaddique Thange, Communications Director of IAMC provided oral testimony to the commission and submitted a written testimony detailing the systematic erosion of the legacy of respectful coexistence of many faiths. In a passionate plea to the commission, Mr. Thange called for human rights to be included as part of the annual US-India Strategic Dialogue and called out the ineffectiveness of the Indian judiciary as enabling and perpetuating the human rights violations.

The written testimony also recommended the recognition of the work of the vast network of NGOs that are at the forefront of upholding the constitutional values despite persistent targeting and harassment by the Modi led government. It also appealed to take up at the highest levels of government, for USCIRF and other institutions to be able to freely assess the situation in India first hand, without any hindrance from the government of India.

Congressional Letter to Speaker on Human Rights in India

In a separate development, eighteen members of the United States Congress led by Rep. Trent Franks and Rep. Betty McCollum wrote a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan urging him to take up the issue of rapidly eroding religious freedom in India.

“Human rights groups in India have reported extensively on these types of attacks, and have traced many of them to Hindu nationalist groups and to government officials supportive of those groups.  As a result of those groups and officials supporting extremists, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and other religious minority communities continue to experience incidents of discrimination, intimidation, harassment and violent attacks. Unfortunately, because of India’s current climate of impunity with regard to such attacks, many victims may never receive justice.” asserted the congresspersons in their letter.

“In February of this year, 34 Members of the House and Senate wrote to Prime Minister Modi urging him to take steps to ensure the fundamental rights of religious minorities are protected and perpetrators of such violence are held accountable. In 2015, President Obama acknowledged concerns related to religious freedom in his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast following his visit to India, stating, ‘…in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs — acts of intolerance.'” the letter further stated.

IAMC welcomed the letter as a much needed reminder to Prime Minister Modi on the deteriorating situation of human rights under his regime.
Indian American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our website at: http://iamc.com/
CONTACT:Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

1. Challenges & Opportunities: The Advancement of Human Rights in India. Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. 07 Jun 2016.
2. Video recording of the hearing session. YouTube. 07 Jun 2016.
3. Oral testimony of Musaddique Thange (IAMC). 07 Jun 2016.
4. Written testimony of Musaddique Thange (IAMC). 07 Jun 2016.
5. While PM Modi meets Obama, US human rights commission to discuss India. Indian Express. 01 Jun 2016.
6. US Commission To Hold Hearing On India’s Human Rights Record. NDTV. 01 Jun 2016.

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Suspected Hindutva activists from Bajrang Dal doused pastor and his pregnant wife with petrol in an attempt to burn them alive 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 23, 2016

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has joined millions of Indians and people of conscience around the world, in strongly condemning the barbaric attack on a Christian pastor and his wife, in the state of Chhattisgarh in India. The incident took place last Sunday, April 17th, and reported in the media a few days thereafter.

Two attackers stormed into the church in Bastar district, set ablaze a Bible and other articles, before viciously assaulting the pastor and his pregnant wife. The couple managed to escape alive, after the men doused them in petrol in an attempt to burn them alive. News reports indicate the assailants were armed with a gun, rods and knives. Their brutal assault on Pastor Dinbandhu Sameli, his 7-month pregnant wife and daughter Roushni Vidya, represents an escalation of attacks on minorities in India since the government of Mr. Narendra Modi came to power.

Instead of filing charges of attempted murder, causing grievous injury, etc, the police have filed lesser charges  such as house trespass, dacoity, committing mischief by fire and injuring or defiling a place of worship.

Mr. Arun Pannalal, the President of Chhattisgarh’s Christian Forum stated in a quote appearing in the media, “Around 15-20 men with saffron bands on their forehead entered the church while Sunday prayer was under way at around 12 pm, and started vandalising the premises and started breaking everything,” Pannalal said and claimed that the “Bajrang Dal youth indulged in sloganeering and were raising Jai Shree Ram slogans. They started damaging chairs and fans. They did not spare women and even tore up their clothes. They also thrashed an infant,” he said.

Mr. Pannalal further referred to the perpetrators of the murderous assault as members of the Bajrang Dal, a radical Hindu supremacist organization affiliated to the RSS.The RSS is the fountainhead of Hindutva and the ideological reference point for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government headed by Mr. Narendra Modi. The increasing attacks on minorities and lower castes in recent years are consistent with the extremism and intolerance Mr. Modi and his party have espoused. Mr. Modi himself has been a lifelong worker of the RSS.

“The hate and venom spewed by the RSS and its affiliates and echoed by prominent members of Mr. Modi’s administration are directly responsible for this barbaric attack on Pastor Sameli and his family, ” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council. “Those who felicitate Mr. Modi during his foreign jaunts, should seriously consider the implications of what they are tacitly endorsing,” added Mr. Malick.

The attack in Chhattisgarh is part of a pattern of violence and hateful rhetoric against minorities in India. There have been scores of attacks on Christians and Muslims since India gained independence. However, the violence has gained in intensity, and the discourse become more vitriolic since the political ascendancy of the Hindu nationalist movement in the late-1980s. The situation has become even more dire with Mr. Modi’s victory in the 2014 general elections on promises of economic development that have been largely unfulfilled.

Leading global human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, have expressed grave concern over the worsening situation of religious minorities in India. Prime Minister Modi’s government, “failed to address increasing attacks on free expression and against religious minorities,” Human Rights Watch stated in its recent 659-page World Report.

“We demand not only that the perpetrators be held accountable, but also those who are engaging in a cover-up of the gruesome episode, and those that are enabling the sectarian hate that leads to such crimes,” Mr. Khalid Ansari, Vice-President of IAMC.

Indian-American Muslim Council is the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States with chapters across the nation. For more information, please visit our at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council
Phone/Fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com
Facebook: Indian American Muslim Council
Twitter: @IAMCouncil
Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:

  1. Chhattisgarh: Church attacked in Bastar, pastor and pregnant wife barely escape

http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-church-attacked-in-bastar-pastor-and-pregnant-wife-barely-escape-2203684

  1. Youths vandalize Church, thrash worshippers in Chhattisgarh

http://www.news18.com/news/india/youths-vandalise-church-thrash-worshippers-in-chhattisgarh-1212813.html

  1. Why it is no longer safe to be Christian in Chhattisgarh

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/patrick-goodenough/indias-refusal-admit-us-religious-freedom-watchdog-seen-attempt-hide

  1. Indian government failed to address attacks on minorities: Human Rights groups

http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2016-01-27/news/70120366_1_meenakshi-ganguly-human-rights-watch-rights-groups

  1. Revoke NSA charges against right-wing leader: Home Ministry reportedly issues diktat to UP govt

http://www.firstpost.com/india/mha-reportedly-asked-up-to-revoke-nsa-charges-against-right-wing-leader-accused-of-assaulting-muslim-man-2571114.html

  1. Rohith Vemula’s death sparks outrage within Indian diaspora

http://twocircles.net/2016jan28/1453995780.html#.Vxxeh_krJzV

  1. 110 Journalists Killed In 2015, India Deadliest Asian Nation For Reporters: Study

http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/110-journalists-killed-in-2015-most-in-peaceful-countries-reporters-without-borders-1260240

 

 

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Indian Americans condemn Saudi award for Prime Minister Modi

April 5, 2016

Award defies logic given Mr. Modi’s record before and after taking office as Prime Minister FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 04, 2016 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has condemned the Saudi government’s decision to confer Indian Prime Minister Modi with the nation’s highest civilian award. […]

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Indian Americans honor Rep. Keith Ellison as “Champion of Human Rights”

February 5, 2016

Indian Americans honor Rep. Keith Ellison as “Champion of Human Rights” Event to mark India’s Republic Day held on first weekend after January 26th  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 03, 2016 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, honored Congressman Keith Ellision (D-MN) as a […]

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Dalit scholar’s suicide in Hyderabad an indictment of BJP’s Hindutva agenda say Indian Americans

January 20, 2016

Charges against Union Minister and Vice-Chancellor indicative of administration’s anti-Dalit and anti-minority focus rooted in Hindutva FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 19, 2016 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed  shock and outrage over the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula at Hyderabad University. Mr. Vemula […]

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Indian Americans express support for VP Rajeena, victimized for speaking up against child abuse

December 22, 2015

Journalist shared her experiences  at a Madrasa (traditional Islamic school) during her childhood FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 29, 2015 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has expressed support for journalist VP Rajeena, who described instances of sexual abuse of children that she witnessed in […]

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Reported rape of dead Muslim woman evokes anger, revulsion amongst Indian Americans

October 27, 2015

Calls to rape dead Muslim women had been made at a function presided over by BJP MP Yogi Adityanath FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 27, 2015 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has joined in the outrage and revulsion felt by Indian Americans and people of […]

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Horrific lynching in India a planned uptick in Hindu supremacist violence against minorities say Indian Americans

October 3, 2015

Brutal killing over mere suspicion of eating beef intended to terrorize local Muslims and polarize communities along religious lines FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 03, 2015 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has strongly condemned the latest episode of anti-minority violence in India, in the […]

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Indian Americans celebrate India Independence Day, call for unified action to secure life, liberty and justice for all

August 16, 2015

IAMC calls the defense of secularism in India a struggle to save the soul of the nation  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Saturday, August 15, 2015 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos, has joined millions of people of Indian origin, living in India and across […]

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Continued vendetta against Teesta Setalvad condemned by Indian Americans

July 16, 2015

CBI raids on Teesta’s home and offices are payback for years of fearless advocacy for victims of Gujarat 2002 pogroms July 15, 2015 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos,  has condemned the latest episode in the BJP government’s continued vendetta against renowned human […]

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