Religious Freedom Violations Increasing Under Modi Govt: U.S. Commission

United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2020 Annual Report
United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) 2020 Annual Report

Now if Modi and his party BJP continued human rights violations despite warnings, the U.S. will impose trade and travel sanctions on India and the Indian leadership including Modi.

By Rakesh Raman

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) observes that religious freedom violations are increasing under the government headed by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi.

In its 2020 Annual Report released Tuesday (April 28), USCIRF has said that there is a sharp downward turn in India as the national (Modi) government used its strengthened parliamentary majority to institute national-level policies violating religious freedom across India, especially for Muslims.

“Though other countries deteriorated, particularly India, we see international religious freedom on an upward trajectory overall,” USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins said.

The Muslim world has also expressed its deep anguish over the maltreatment of Muslims in India while Modi remains silent. It is largely believed that Modi’s silence gives consent to his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hooligans who constantly abuse Muslims.

Modi and the BJP have also established a formidable lapdog media clique (a.k.a. Godi Media) surreptitiously to spread hate against Muslims. Their attacks on Muslims have increased sharply during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

The USCIRF report particularly describes the anti-Muslim citizenship law called Citizenship Amendment Act (or CAA) introduced by the Modi government to persecute and harm Muslims.

According to the report, the national and various state governments in India also allowed nationwide campaigns of harassment and violence against religious minorities to continue with impunity, and engaged in and tolerated hate speech and incitement to violence against them.

Based on these developments, in this report USCIRF recommends CPC (Country of Particular Concern) designation for India.

Earlier, in February, four U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had expressed their deep anguish over the continuing human rights violations in India.

In their letter written to the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the Democratic as well as Republican Senators had particularly raised concerns about the trouble in Indian-occupied Kashmir and the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act introduced by the Modi government.

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

Now if Modi and his party BJP continued human rights violations despite warnings, the U.S. will impose trade and travel sanctions on India and the Indian leadership including Modi.

USCIRF has already recommended sanctions against Modi’s colleague the Home Minister Amit Shah and other principal leadership. Earlier, on USCIRF’s recommendation, the U.S. had banned Modi’s entry into the U.S. for his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots in which nearly 2,000 people – mostly Muslims – were murdered in a pogrom.

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. government advisory body that monitors religious freedom abroad and makes policy recommendations to the U.S. President, Secretary of State, and the U.S. Congress.

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. These publications include the “Covid Health Bulletin” that covers global coronavirus news and views.

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