US groups flay State Department’s failure to confront Modi govt over crimes against minorities in India

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The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) and Hindus for Human Rights along with their allies have expressed disappointment over the US State Department’s failure to follow the recommendations of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), a label reserved for the world’s most egregious violators of religious freedoms.

Despite being recommended as a “Country of Particular Concern” by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom for three consecutive years, India was left off the CPC list for 2022.

For the past three years, USCIRF has recommended that the State Department, headed by Secretary Antony Blinken, designate India as a CPC due to exponential rise in violence and discrimination against Muslims and Christians in the country.

The USCIRF in a statement expressed its “outrage” over the State Department’s failure to list India as a CPC and said that there was no justification for the government body ignoring the USCIRF’s warnings about steep decline in human rights under the BJP government.

“USCIRF is tremendously disappointed that the Secretary of State did not implement our recommendations and recognize the severity of the religious freedom violations that both USCIRF and the State Department have documented in [India],” said USCIRF Chair Nury Turkel. “The State Department’s own reporting includes numerous examples of particularly severe religious freedom violations in [India].”

“Over and over again, the Modi regime has demonstrated how hateful it is towards religious minorities by restricting their citizenship, spreading hate speech against them, encouraging Hindu vigilante groups to physically assault them, allowing riots in their neighborhoods and bulldozing their homes when they protest,” said Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of IAMC.

“Repeated failure to designate India as a CPC will only encourage the Indian government to double down on its persecution of religious minorities,” he added.

Governmental and non-governmental organizations across the globe have expressed their concerns regarding India, especially as countries noted the Modi government’s mistreatment of minorities at India’s Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations in November.

Canada’s New Democratic Party (NDP) recently asked its government to boycott events held in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir as India begins its presidency of the G20, citing discriminatory anti-minority laws, its threats of ethnic cleansing, persecution of minorities, and the arrests of journalists and human rights activists.

In October, United Nations Special Rapporteur for Minority Rights Fernand de Varennes said at a congressional briefing that “nothing short of an international investigative mechanism – as has been done by the UN Security Council, Human Rights Council for countries such as Syria, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Ethiopia – may be necessary” to reverse the trend of violence against minorities in India.

“The State Department’s refusal to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern, while unsurprising, is confounding,” said Ria Chakrabarty, Policy Director at Hindus for Human Rights. “Based on clear evidence, much of which has been documented by the State Department, the Indian government has clearly tolerated or encouraged the persecution of religious minorities. Either this administration needs to get serious about human rights in India and around the world or give up the pretense that it is actually concerned about religious freedom in India.”

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