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1000 global rights orgs, individuals urge US govt to impose “targeted sanctions” against India for violating religious freedom

TCN News

Owing to the increase in communal violence and hate speech in India, over a thousand Indian American civil rights organizations, academicians and human rights activists have written to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo requesting him to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC).

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), which has been vocal about intolerance and hate campaign in India, has initiated this open letter in partnership with various other individuals and organizations requesting the US government to impose sanctions on the perpetrators and establish it among the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom. The signatories of this letter comprise of organizations like Hindus for Human Rights, International Christian Concern, Emgage Action, Genocide Watch, The Sikh Coalition, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and others.

The letter mentions the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Annual Report 2020 that was released in April, indicating the rising incidents of unprecedented decline in India’s religious freedom. It highlights that the report had declared Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP government to “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing and egregious religious freedom violations” by creating “national-level policies violating the religious freedom of especially Muslims.” IAMC has further reminded in its letter that the BJP government is furthering “incitement to violence” and allowing its “continuation with impunity.” Additionally, it iterated that USCIRF had concluded that the Citizenship laws like CAA, NRC and NPR must be “repealed” because it is “discriminatory” and “unacceptable.”

The signatories of this letter have mandated that imposing sanctions would hold India accountable for its “layers of harassment and persecution” of minorities. Particularly mentioned are disruptions in church services and brutal attacks and false charging of Christians in local, regional and national administrations work. It has then condemned violence against India’s religious minorities including 200 million Muslims and 30 million Christians, calling it “a grave threat not only to its secular and pluralist polity but also to regional stability in South Asia.”

The letter has declared that imposing these “targeted sanctions on Indian agencies and officials”, including “freezing of their assets and barring entry into the US” would act as an effective measure against “State-backed assaults on religious minorities.”

Representatives from prominent global associations have also shown support for the IAMC statement. Some of these are Save the Persecuted Christians, American Humanist Association, Unified Buddhist Church of Vietnam, Institute on Religion and Democracy, Union of Council for Jews in the Former Soviet Union, Law and Liberty International, and many others. After detailing USCIRF recommendations, the letter continues that implementing the recommendations of USCIRF would “send out a clear message that the US believes religious freedom and peaceful coexistence of multiple faiths are the linchpins of global stability.”