Religious freedom in India ‘significantly worsened’: US panel | Religion News


For third straight yr, US fee recommends including India to spiritual freedom blacklist over alleged abuses.

The state of non secular freedom in India “considerably worsened” final yr, a United States panel has stated, calling for focused sanctions in opposition to the nation over alleged abuses.

In its annual report launched on Monday, the US Fee on Worldwide Spiritual Freedom (USCIRF) urged the State Division for the third straight yr to position India on the US checklist of “nations of explicit concern”.

The impartial bipartisan panel accused India of “partaking in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of non secular freedom”.

The USCIRF places ahead suggestions and paperwork alleged abuses, however the State Division in the end makes the choice on the non secular freedom blacklist.

“Throughout the yr, the Indian authorities escalated its promotion and enforcement of insurance policies—together with these selling a Hindu-nationalist agenda—that negatively have an effect on Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and different non secular minorities,” the report (PDF) stated.

“The federal government continued to systemize its ideological imaginative and prescient of a Hindu state at each the nationwide and state ranges via the usage of each current and new legal guidelines and structural modifications hostile to the nation’s non secular minorities.”

India has beforehand rejected the fee’s suggestion to blacklist the nation over alleged violations of non secular freedom, calling its findings “biased”.

Monday’s report comes as US officers say they’re looking for “most alignment” with India over Russia coverage and the battle in Ukraine. Washington has additionally been strengthening ties with New Delhi amid rising competitors with China.

US President Joe Biden held a digital assembly with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month and the 2 leaders are set to fulfill in Tokyo subsequent month as a part of a summit for the leaders of the Asia-Pacific “Quad” alliance, which additionally contains Japan and Australia.

Nonetheless, the USCIRF on Monday accused India of repressing human rights defenders from non secular minorities.

The fee hit out in opposition to the Indian authorities over a citizenship regulation that fast-tracks naturalisation for non-Muslims, calling it “discriminatory”, whereas additionally slamming anti-religious conversion legal guidelines that it stated goal interfaith marriages in some states.

“Authorities motion, together with the continued enforcement of anti-conversion legal guidelines in opposition to non-Hindus, has created a tradition of impunity for nationwide campaigns of threats and violence by mobs and vigilante teams, together with in opposition to Muslims and Christians accused of conversion actions,” the report reads.

India’s Muslim minority has been dealing with mob violence and assaults by right-wing Hindu teams.

Individually, the USCIRF referred to as for designating Afghanistan as a “nation of explicit concern” (CPC) after the Taliban takeover.

The present US State Division non secular freedom blacklist consists of China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

“USCIRF sometimes recommends extra nations be designated as CPCs than the State Division will designate,” Nadine Maenza, the fee’s chair, instructed Al Jazeera final yr. “A part of the discrepancy is as a result of USCIRF can give attention to non secular freedom circumstances alone while not having to stability different bilateral points.”

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