Ahead of Trump’s Visit to India, U.S. Senators Accuse Modi Govt of Human Rights Violations

PM Narendra Modi with U.S. President Donald Trump at the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, USA on September 22, 2019. Photo: PIB (file photo)
PM Narendra Modi with U.S. President Donald Trump at the ‘Howdy Modi’ event in Houston, USA on September 22, 2019. Photo: PIB (file photo)

In their letter to Secretary Pompeo, the Senators have requested for an assessment of the human rights situation in Kashmir and of the rights of religious minorities in India.

By Rakesh Raman

As President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit India on February 24, four U.S. Senators have expressed their deep anguish over the continuing human rights violations in India.

In their letter written on Wednesday (February 12) to the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Democratic as well as Republican Senators have particularly raised concerns about the trouble in Indian-occupied Kashmir and the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA introduced by the government headed by PM Narendra Modi.

[ Indian Citizenship Law is Against Muslims: UN Human Rights Office ]

The Senators complain that the Modi government has unilaterally revoked the autonomy of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and imposed the longest-ever Internet shutdown by a democracy. The letter adds that the Modi government has illegally detained hundreds of Kashmiris including political leaders.

Moreover, in the letter, the Senators have also blamed the government for passing CAA, which is aimed to isolate and persecute Muslims who live in India.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been protesting in India for the past couple of months against the CAA, National Population Register (NPR), and National Register of Citizens (NRC) announced by Modi and his Home Minister Amit Shah.

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Recently, in its resolutions discussed on January 29, the European Parliament expressed deep concern at the fact that India has created the legal grounds to strip millions of Muslims of the fundamental right of equal access to citizenship.

As the Modi government is using brute force to crush the protests and the protesters, global human rights organization Amnesty International has advised PM Modi to allow peaceful protests against the new citizenship laws, which aim to persecute Muslims.

The U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in their letter to Secretary Pompeo, have requested for an assessment of the human rights situation in Kashmir and of the rights of religious minorities in India.

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The Senators have highlighted recently passed provisions within the Fiscal Year 2020 State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs appropriations report, urging the Indian government to address these issues.

In their letter, the Senators also note, “In addition, the Indian government has taken other troubling steps that threaten the rights of certain religious minorities and the secular character of the state. This includes the passage of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, which is being challenged in India’s Supreme Court.”

They request for a State Department assessment of a number of issues within India including: the number of individuals detained by the government for political purposes and the treatment of those individuals; current restrictions on communications; the current accessibility of J&K; and restrictions on religious freedoms.

By Rakesh Raman, who is a national award-winning journalist and social activist. He is the founder of a humanitarian organization RMN Foundation which is working in diverse areas to help the disadvantaged and distressed people in the society. He also creates and publishes a number of digital publications and research reports on different subjects.

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Rakesh Raman