Indian Americans welcome USCIRF’s decision to recommend India as a Country of Particular Concern for fourth consecutive year - IAMC

Indian Americans welcome USCIRF’s decision to recommend India as a Country of Particular Concern for fourth consecutive year

Washington, D.C. (May 1, 2023) – The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) has welcomed the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom’s (USCIRF) decision to recommend India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its severe violations of human rights and religious freedoms for the fourth consecutive year.

CPC is a designation reserved for the world’s worst violators of religious freedom.

“This decision reaffirms what IAMC has been saying for years: that India’s government, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has continued to systematically violate the religious freedom of minority communities, particularly Muslims and Christians,” said Rasheed Ahmed, IAMC Executive Director. “It is high time that the State Department acts on USCIRF’s recommendation and holds India accountable as the ground situation becomes increasingly more violent and dangerous for its religious minorities. We particularly welcome that the report highlights the systematic and appalling harassment of Journalists.”

In its 2023 annual report, USCIRF highlighted that religious freedoms in India continued to deteriorate, including through laws targeting religious conversion, interfaith relationships, cow slaughter, free speech, and non-governmental organizations.

“The Indian government invoked the UAPA and the Sedition Act throughout the year to target freedom of religion and expression, creating an increasing climate of intimidation and fear,” the report stated. “Authorities surveilled, harassed, detained, and prosecuted a number of journalists, lawyers, rights activists, and religious minorities advocating for religious freedom.”

USCIRF also highlighted the 2022 order of the Karnataka state high court banning the hijab in school, saying, “Despite widespread protests and instances of violence, state high court judges upheld the ban, agreeing with the government’s argument that the hijab is not essential to practicing Islam.”

The report further raised concerns about the ongoing trend of violent cow vigilante attacks and lynchings of Muslims, sexual violence and harassment against Muslim women, and the demolition of Muslim-owned homes, businesses, and places of worship, as well as several Christian establishments.

USCIRF also expressed its disappointment with the Biden administration for ignoring its recommendation to designate India as a CPC in 2022.

“In 2022, the Joseph R. Biden administration again failed to designate India as a CPC for engaging in particularly severe religious freedom,” the report stated.

In addition to recommending that India be listed on the CPC list, USCIRF has also urged the US government to raise religious freedom issues in the U.S.-India bilateral relationship and to impose targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of minority rights.

IAMC echoes USCIRF in calling on the US Department of State to immediately act on the Commission’s recommendations and hold the Indian government accountable for allowing and enabling the persecution of its 250 million religious minorities. IAMC also urges the Indian government to take immediate steps to address these concerns and protect the rights of all of its citizens, regardless of their religion.

For those interested in speaking with IAMC experts on deteriorating human rights and religious freedoms in India, please contact: