From the category archives:

Press release

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 rights activist Teesta Setalvad.  The government has unleashed a CBI probe against Ms. Setalvad, her associates as well as the organization she has spearheaded in her struggle for justice for the victims of Gujarat pogroms of 2002. The raids on Ms. Setalvad’s home and offices come in the wake of the Supreme Court approving her anticipatory bail in a different case being pursued against her by the Gujarat government.

The CBI probe was initiated on the orders of the Home Ministry, that is alleging irregularities in some foreign contributions received by Sabrang Communications, headed by Teesta. Raids were carried out despite Ms. Setalvad’s assurances to the CBI that she and her organization would cooperate fully with the investigation. In the case against her filed by the Gujarat government, Ms. Setalvad’s organization Sabrang Trust had provided detailed responses to all the questions raised by the BJP-led government. As in previous attempts at harassing and intimidating Ms. Setalvad, the intent is clearly to browbeat her into submission and hamper the crucial work she and her organization are engaged in, in the cause of justice and accountability.

“The fact that the BJP governments, both at the state and central level have resorted to using the state security apparatus to intimidate a tireless worker for justice represents an affront to the constitutional guarantees of equality before the law for all citizens,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of IAMC. “It is ironical that the BJP had alleged that the CBI was a ‘politcal tool’ in the hands of the ruling party, when the BJP itself was in the opposition,” added Mr. Malick.
In stark contrast to the repressive measures against Ms. Setalvad and other human rights activists and whistleblowers, is the reprieve given to several accused in the Gujarat pogroms of 2002, at the behest of the BJP government. In February this year, 70 accused were acquitted by a local court in north Gujarat, while the Gujarat High Court granted bail to  convicted mass murderer Ms. Maya Kodnani on the pretext that her appeal was pending.  The dismal conviction rate in cases connected to the Gujarat pogroms, shows the government’s complete lack of interest in pursuing those that killed and raped with impunity.

“The government’s gunning for Teesta Setalvad does not diminish the gravity of the crimes committed by the perpetrators of the Gujarat pogroms of 2002, and the culpability of those in the administration that were complicit in the mass violence,” said Mr. Khalid Ansari, Vice President of IAMC. “Despite attempts by these culprits to subvert the justice system, the long arm of the law will surely catch up with them,” added Mr. Ansari.

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://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com 

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES:
CBI Raids Activist Teesta Setalvad’s Residence, Office in Mumbai
http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/cbi-raids-activist-teesta-setalvads-residence-office-in-mumbai-781228
Modi government’s hounding of Teesta Setalvad is a message to all dissidents
http://scroll.in/article/740762/modi-governments-hounding-of-teesta-setalvad-is-a-message-to-all-dissidents
“The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India’s Future” Martha Nussbaum, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2009)

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USCIRF Report for 2015 documents forced conversions of minorities to Hinduism, rising attacks on their places of worship and other restrictions on religious freedom

April 30, 2015

The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos,  has welcomed the recommendations on India in the report released today by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and called on India to heed its recommendations. IAMC has also urged the US State Department to take cognizance of the report when issuing its own report on international religious freedom, and to act on USCIRF’s multiple recommendations on including religious freedom  concerns in bilateral talks with India.

Of particular significance is the fact that the USCIRF report again places India on the Tier 2 list of countries where religious freedom is at risk. India has been on this list every year since 2009.  The Chapter on India  in the report documents violence as well as the sharp increase in hate campaigns against religious minorities, including Christians, Muslims and Sikhs. It notes with concern the renewed calls for legislating on a national level, anti-conversion laws that have been used to restrict freedom of religion in some states. The report has also cited physical violence, arson, desecration of churches and attempts to forcibly “reconvert” thousands of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism. It clearly points to Hindu supremacist forces for most of the religiously motivated violence and attacks on freedom of religion. “The perpetrators are often individuals and groups associated with the RSS and VHP and operate with near impunity,” the report stated.

“The USCIRF report represents international recognition of the growing attacks on minorities in India by Hindutva forces, including those that are part of the ruling dispensation,” said Mr. Umar Malick, President of Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC). “India remaining on USCIRF’s Tier 2 list of countries since 2009 is an unfortunate but inevitable fact, given the ground realities in India. Instead of taking steps to address concerns about religious minorities, the BJP administration’s sectarian and divisive agenda has only resulted in a worsening of India’s record on religious freedom. The international community is rightly concerned about India’s religious minorities, given the attacks have targeted them, their institutions and places of worship and their ability to practice their religions. In the case of Sikhs, Hindutva elements have even targeted the community’s right to self-identification as a distinct religious community,” added Mr. Malick.

Although India’s traditionally pluralist society has seen a decline in religious freedom in the last two decades due to the growing influence of the supremacist ideology of Hindutva, the deterioration since the movement’s political wing came to power last year has been dramatic. From programs known as “ghar wapsi,” intended to forcibly convert Christians and Muslims to Hinduism, to hate campaigns calling for the disenfranchisement of Muslims and the forced sterilization of Christians and Muslims, the situation of minorities under the BJP rule has become precarious.

IAMC has urged the US government to accept the report’s recommendation to integrate concern for religious freedom in its bilateral talks with India. “We believe the report’s recommendation is best fulfilled through an inclusion of religious freedom and human rights in the US-India Strategic Dialogue,” stated 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 website at: http://www.iamc.com

CONTACT:

Indian American Muslim Council

Phone/fax: 1-800-839-7270
Email:info@iamc.com 

Address: 6321 W Dempster St. Suite 295, Morton Grove, IL 60053.

REFERENCES: 
USCIRF Report 2015: Chapter on India
http://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/India%202015.pdfIndian Political Party Advocates the Denial of Voting Rights for Muslims
http://time.com/3819055/shiv-sena-india-saamana-editorial-muslim-voting-rights/Hindu Mahasabha leader calls for forcible sterilization of Christians and Muslims
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report-impose-emergency-and-sterilise-muslims-christians-forcibly-says-hindu-mahasabha-leader-2076735

‘Reconversion’ of Religious Minorities Roils India’s Politics
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/24/world/asia/india-narendra-modi-hindu-conversions-missionaries.html

RSS body seeks donations to fund Christmas ‘conversions’ in Aligarh
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/RSS-body-seeks-donations-to-fund-Christmas-conversions-in-Aligarh/articleshow/45484672.cms

UN Official: India’s ‘Conversion’ Laws Threaten Religious Freedom
http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2014/03/10/un-official-indias-conversion-laws-threaten-religious-freedom/

Shocking: Plans to name flyover after Gandhi’s assassin
http://www.indiatvnews.com/news/india/alwar-flyover-was-about-to-named-after-nathuram-godse-47187.html

How India is assassinating Gandhi’s legacy

http://www.progressive.org/news/2015/01/187982/how-india-assassinating-gandhis-legacy

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Fake encounter killings in Telangana are an outrage against the rule of law say Indian Americans

April 10, 2015

Killing of five youth while they were handcuffed on their way to court in a police van warrants a judicial probe April 09, 2015 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos ethos has called the Telangana police killing of five detainees in a transportation […]

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Shocking reversals in the struggle for justice mark Gujarat pogroms anniversary

March 2, 2015

A season of “clean chits” for the guilty and hounding of activists since the coming to power of Hindu supremacists  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 28, 2015  The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has marked the 13th anniversary of the Gujarat pogroms of […]

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Case against Teesta a case of witch-hunt by Gujarat government say Indian Americans

February 20, 2015

Call for Independent investigation under Supreme Court’s supervision   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 18, 2015 Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has expressed strong support for noted human rights activist Teesta Setalvad and denounced the Gujarat Government for bringing frivolous charges motivated by political […]

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US concern over diminishing religious freedom in India is justified say Indian Americans

February 8, 2015

Attacks on churches, forced conversions to Hinduism and glorification of Gandhi’s assassin are manifestations of a divisive and hateful ideology   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Sunday, Feb 08, 2015   The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has called President Obama’s expressions of concern over […]

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Indian Americans mark Republic Day with pledge to safeguard India’s Constitution

January 27, 2015

Letter draws President Obama’s attention to deteriorating situation with respect to religious freedom situation in India   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Monday, January 26, 2015 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has marked India’s Republic Day with celebrations in four US cities, while pledging to […]

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IAMC Letter to President Obama on India visit

January 24, 2015

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Forced conversions in Agra and call for anti-conversion bill are brazen attacks on India’s Constitution say Indian Americans

December 14, 2014

Sunday, Dec 14, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos has condemned the forced conversion of Muslims in Agra as well as the government’s suggested “remedy”, of pushing the anti-conversion bill, currently adopted in five states across India, as brazen attacks on […]

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Burning of church in Delhi an attack on minorities say Indian Americans

December 5, 2014

Expressions of solidarity with Christians in India, condemnation of hate speech by BJP Minister Niranjan Jyoti   Washington D.C – Wednesday, December 03, 2014 The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC – www.iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos,has condemned the burning of St. Sebastian Catholic Church in Delhi on December 1, 2014 as […]

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