US Panel Recommends Sanctioning India Over Religious Freedom Violations P-admin Atheist Republic

Read More Atheist Republic For the third year, the United States panel on international religious affairs recommended labeling India as one of the “countries of particular concern.” The report accuses India and other countries of engaging or tolerating “systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations” of religious rights.
On April 25, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released its Annual Report with Recommendations for U.S. Policy, documenting a “significant regress” in the religious integrities in multiple countries.
USCIRF’s annual report is designed to guide U.S. policymakers in creating legislation and handling diplomatic ties with other countries.
India’s religious freedom has “significantly worsened,” the USCIRF report stated. The list of countries with worsening religious freedom also included Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.
The list of designated CPCs also included Russia for the first time.
Along with the designation as a CPC, the USCIRF also recommended imposing “targeted sanctions on individuals and entities” directly involved in the violations of religious freedom. The sanctions include “freezing those individuals’ or entities’ assets.”
The recommendation added barring an individual’s entry to the United States.
The commission also provided congressional recommendations, urging the U.S. government to send letters, and congressional delegations to India, to raise religious freedom issues.
According to the USCIRF’s 2022 report, in 2021, the Indian government “escalated its promotion and enforcement of policies that negatively affect Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and other religious minorities.”
The report accused Modi’s administration of synthesizing an “ideological vision of a Hindu state.” This dangerous ideology is made apparent with Modi’s silence toward Hindu political and religious leaders who openly attack religious minorities.
Earlier this month, a Hindu priest paraded near a mosque calling for sexual violence against Muslim women while escorted by the police. “Neither your place nor you people will remain,” the Hindu priest threatened.
USCIRF also accused the Indian government of actively suppressing criticisms of its handling of religious minorities. India is “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom,” the committee report said. This suppression included “harassment, investigation, detention, and prosecution under laws such as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Sedition Law.”
The Indian government has made it impossible to obtain “licensure and receive international funding by religious and charitable nongovernmental organizations.”
The commission also accused Modi and the BJP of empowering Hindu-nationalist groups by legislating and promoting “sectarian policies seeking to establish India as an overtly Hindu state.”
Earlier in April, Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, refrained from criticizing India’s Prime Minister over the increasing human rights and religious freedom abuse cases. “We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared values,” Blinken explained.
USCIRF’s scathing report comes as India is poised to side with Russia and China amidst the war in Ukraine.
Andy Levin, a U.S. congressman, also called out India on its alleged abusive handling of the Muslim-dominated Kashmir region.
Levin, a member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, said, “the U.S. cares about what happens in Kashmir and that we expect better of democracies like India.”
The Indian government vehemently denounced USCIRF’s consistent reports of its abuse of religious minorities, calling it biased. India also insists that they have “well-established democratic practices and robust institutions to safeguard all rights.”
Modi’s deafening silence against the systemic public attacks on its religious minorities has added to the allegations.
Modi has not responded to the USCIRF’s recommendations.
However, India’s Ministry of External Affairs dismissed the committee’s findings calling it biased propaganda and a product of anti-India lobbyists in the U.S.