U.S. Lawmaker Ilhan Omar Introduces Resolution on Human Rights Violations in India

Ilhan Omar. Photo: ilhanomar.com
Ilhan Omar. Photo: ilhanomar.com

The U.S. ignores the repressive events in India, because its main objective is to earn money from the Indian markets.

By Rakesh Raman

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) introduced a resolution on June 22 to condemn human rights violations and violations of international religious freedom in India, including those targeting Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Adivasis, and other religious and cultural minorities. 

The resolution calls on the Secretary of State to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act, which has been recommended by the independent, bipartisan U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for the past three years.   

In its 2022 annual report released on April 25, the USCIRF has reported a number of religious freedom violations in India. In 2021, according to the USCIRF report, religious freedom conditions in India significantly worsened. 

During the year, the USCIRF report adds, the Indian government headed by PM Narendra Modi escalated its promotion and enforcement of policies—including those promoting a Hindu-nationalist agenda—that negatively affected Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and other religious minorities. 

The Modi government continued to systemize its ideological vision of a Hindu state at both the national and state levels through the use of both existing and new laws and structural changes hostile to the country’s religious minorities.

However, the Biden Administration has been ignoring the repeated USCIRF recommendations to designate India as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, for engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). 

When I (Rakesh Raman) asked the U.S. State Department about the reason for ignoring the USCIRF recommendations on India, it sent me a vague, meaningless response. [ You can click here to read my communication with the State Department. ]

The U.S. ignores the repressive events in India, because its main objective is to earn money from the Indian markets. That is why instead of taking punitive actions against the despotic Modi government, the U.S. politicians hobnob with Modi and his accomplices in the Indian government.

Meanwhile, the International Religious Freedom Report released on June 2, 2022 by the U.S. Department of State explains that the Indian Constitution provides for freedom of conscience and the right of all individuals to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion; mandates a secular state; requires the state to treat all religions impartially; and prohibits discrimination based on religion. But the authoritarian Modi government has been ignoring the Constitution to persecute non-Hindu communities – particularly Muslims. 

The annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom – the International Religious Freedom Report – describes the status of religious freedom in every country. The U.S. Department of State submits the reports in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

The introduction of resolution by Rep. Ilhan Omar comes after continued violence and threats made against religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Christians in India. There have been numerous reports of national and state governments condoning harassment and acts of violence made against religious minorities. 

In 2019, the Indian Parliament enacted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which provides a fast track to Indian citizenship only for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan already residing in India. Rep. Omar says this will open the possibility of rendering millions of Muslims stateless or subject to indefinite detention. 

“The Indian government must be held responsible for human right violations against religious and cultural minorities,” said Rep. Omar. “In recent years, the Indian government has been escalating repressive policies against Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Dalits. The United States should stand for religious freedom in India and the fair treatment of all religious minorities. It is past time for the State Department to acknowledge the reality of the situation in India and formally designate India as a Country of Particular Concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.” 

Original co-sponsors of H.Res 1196 include Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA).

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 has also launched the “Power Play: Lok Sabha Election 2024 in India” editorial section to cover the news, events, and other developments related to the 2024 election.

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