For 3rd Straight Year, US Religious Freedom Commission Says US Government Must Sanction India For Violence Against Muslims, Christians - IAMC

For 3rd Straight Year, US Religious Freedom Commission Says US Government Must Sanction India For Violence Against Muslims, Christians

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a federal US panel constituted by US Congress, has recommended for the third year in a row that the US Government include India in the list of the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom.

In its 2022 Annual Report released in Washington, D.C., on Monday (April 25, 2022), the USCIRF recommended that the US Department of State designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), citing  “significantly worsened” religious freedom conditions under the rule of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

“In 2021, numerous attacks were made on religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians, and their neighborhoods, businesses, homes, and houses of worship. Many of these incidents were violent, unprovoked, and/or encouraged or incited by government officials,” the report stated.

“The BJP-led government, leaders at the national, state, and local levels, and increasingly emboldened Hindu-nationalist groups have advocated, instituted, and enforced sectarian policies seeking to establish India as an overtly Hindu state, contrary to India’s secular foundation and at grave danger to India’s religious minorities,” the report added.

The report further recommended that India be designated as a CPC for “for engaging in

and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).” The report also called on the US government to impose “targeted sanctions” as a way to hold perpetrators of hate responsible for their actions.

Assam Police Rearrests Gujarat Legislator Jignesh Mevani Right After Being Granted Bail

Jignesh Mevani, a Dalit leader and legislator from Gujarat state, was re-arrested soon after being granted bail in another case against registered him. Mevani is now accused of uttering “slang words” against a policewoman and “outrag[ing] her modesty.”

Mevani was previously arrested after tweeting a condemnation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pointed silence in the face of widespread Hindu supremacist violence against Muslims. He was arrested without being informed of the charges against him.

“PM Modi, whose god is Godse [assassin of Mahatma Gandhi], claims to worship Gandhi. To keep up that pretence he should at least appeal to his ideological brethren to stop using Hindu festivals as pretexts to foment anti Muslim violence,” Mevani had tweeted.

Bebaak Collective, Canadian Diaspora Group, Condemn ‘Attempt to Erase’ Muslims, ‘Brazen Calls for Muslim Genocide In India’

The Bebaak Collective, a coalition of autonomous women’s groups across India, slammed the outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence across India in a statement that blamed the BJP for “politically engineer[ing] social hatred” against Muslims, leading to “a wider pattern of concerted attempts to erase, demolish, attack and transform visible symbols and practices of religious coexistence.”

“The Hindu nationalist suspicion towards Muslims as true citizens and patriots… has devolved into a cultural assertion against the very existence of Muslims,” the read statement, which was co-signed by several activists, journalists, academics, filmmakers and civil society organizations.

The organization further slammed the numerous cases of police brutality reported in Khargone, Karnataka, and other areas where violent Hindu extremist rallies have taken place: “[Police] have chosen to let the violence play out and actively targeted Muslim youth with arrests, while the perpetrators are free.”

A group of over 100 Canada-based South Asian diaspora members released a similar statement condemning Hindu extremists’ “brazen calls” for a Muslim genocide.

“As members of the South Asian diaspora, we urge the international community to take cognisance of the genocidal violence being perpetrated against the Muslim community by the BJP government and its supporters in India, and organize against it,” read the statement.

“Given the extent to which the Indian judiciary and other state agencies are compromised, and even complicit in perpetrating Hindutva violence, we have little hope that the victims will ever receive justice.

“We, therefore, join the progressive groups in India such as the Bebaak Collective to demand that the international community call on the Government of India to… take immediate action against the Hindu right wing groups that orchestrated the recent violence against Muslims in various parts of the country,” the statement said.