Home CAA USCRIF, in response to CAA, reminds India of ‘religious freedom’ 

USCRIF, in response to CAA, reminds India of ‘religious freedom’ 

TCN News

Sparked by BJP leader Kapil Mishra’s communal remarks at a rally last week in Delhi, anti CAA protests have taken an ugly turn. While large scale protests continue across the country, a brutal crackdown by police forces is running parallel to it. Many international organizations have condemned the crackdown, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) being the latest.

In its latest report, USCIRF, chaired by Tony Perkins and Gayle Manchin, has reminded the Government of ‘religious freedom’, regarding CAA as ‘unconstitutional’. USCIRF has professed its siding with Indian political parties, non-governmental organizations, and religious groups petitions against CAA saying it violates Section 14 (Equality before the Law) of the Indian Constitution.

In its detailed factsheet released in February 2020 edition. USCIRF has issued a joint statement that it stands with the United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights, the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee in expressing serious concerns over the CAA in India. The factsheet outlines the amendments covered in the latest Act, along with a background of Hindutva in the country. 

The USCIRF statement remarks that “The CAA and NRC must be understood in the context of the growing prominence of the BJP’s Hindutva ideology,” identifying  Hindutva as an ideological frame that claims India as a Hindu state (with its definition of Hinduism inclusive of Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs) and Islam as a foreign and invading religion. The factsheet also mentions how BJP Chief Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath, in 2005 in a rally had sparked communal sentiments by promising he would “cleanse India of other religions” and make it the “century of Hindutva.”

The factsheet, signed by policy analysts Harrison Akins and Keely Bakken, with inputs from other researchers and  Communications Specialist, Danielle Ashbahian, strongly condemns CAA and NRC suggesting that, “The NRC process in Assam and the challenges plaguing it demonstrate that Indian citizens could be stripped of their citizenship in a nationwide NRC.” It concludes that CAA and NRC come with “protections for non-Muslims in place” so the Government must do away with such discriminatory citizenship laws as in “future such processes would largely impact Muslims alone.”