Skip to main content

US religious freedom panel adds 3 more names as victims of Indian state persecution

By Our Representative 
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has declared Imam Umar Guatam, Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi and and Maulana Kaleem Farooqui as “victims of religious persecution” in India, a US-based rights group, Justice for All (JfA), with hubs in Chicago, New York and Washington DC, has said in an email alert to Counterview.
In a statement, JfA said, Imam Umar Guatam was arrested on June 21 along with Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi, both preachers from Delhi’s Jamia Nagar by the Uttar Pradesh police’s Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) on charges of “mass conversion of people to Islam through inducements such as marriage, job and money and mental pressure.”Maulana Kaleem Farooqui is also an Islamic religious scholar, and was arrested a few months later under the same pretext by the Uttar Pradesh authorities.
USCIRF has so far added 33 prisoners “incarcerated” by the Indian regime to their victims list. The victims listed have been accused by the Indian government of spreading discord and disturbing communal harmony under “various draconian laws”, such as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and Religious Anti-Conversion laws, JfA, which enjoys consultative status at the United Nations, said.
Protesting against the arrests, Abu Bakr Sabbaq, leading lawyer for Imam Umar Gautam, said, “Article 25 of the Indian Constitution is very clear that every citizen has a constitutional right as well as its protection that he or she may propagate religious teachings to others who are following other religions. Umar Gautam and other accused persons are implicated in a case without evidence, and also alleging anti national activities.”
He added, “In chargesheet, considering the statements of those who approached Umar Gautam for conversion certificates, it is clear that their inclination towards Islam was there even before they decided to formalize the process. Where then is the question of coercion or undue influence?"
Referring to the inclusion of two more sections of the Indian Penal Code in a supplementary charge sheet submitted by Uttar Pradesh’s Anti-Terrorism Squad in which section 121A (attempt to wage war against the government of India) and section 123 (concealing existence of a design to wage war against the government of India) have also been added, Sabbaq further said, "This is a fact that NGOs like those being run by Umar Gautam and others received substantial amount of donations post-Delhi riots for relief work.”
But he noted, to link this with an attempt to wage war against the country is simply absurd. “Be it the brochure or conversion registers recovered, nowhere do they say that money or jobs will be offered in lieu of conversion. They don’t establish that any inducement was offered.”
Sabbaq pointed out that the concept of allurement is not well-defined in the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act. “Even in the Act, allurement has been covered in a vague manner. And the same approach has been used in this case as well.”
Human rights organizations assert that the Indian government targets religious leaders and civil society for being critical of the government’s human rights abuses. Human rights defenders and minority religious leaders are held on arbitrary charges and languish in jail for extended periods of time while awaiting bail hearings, the statement said.
"By adding these names to the victims list, USCIRF recognizes the malfeasance of the Indian government in using these laws to persecute religious minorities," stated Zahir Adil, team lead of Save India From Fascism, adding, “Persons added on USCIRF’s victims list are researched independently by USCIRF, although organizations can, and often make submissions of victim profiles for consideration.”
Hena Zuberi, Washington DC director of JfA, said, “Our team has submitted profiles of such prisoners over the last 2 years to USCIRF. Many of the names we had submitted, as well as several others, have been included. We appreciate USCIRF’s indepth research and investigation into these cases.”
She added, “Recognizing the victims of the Indian government is an effective mechanism to notify India that US agencies are monitoring its degradation of human rights. Touted as the world’s largest democracy, India is quickly being reduced to a fascist group-autocracy with ballot box validation.”
Additions to the USCIRF victims database include: Gulfisha Fatima, Shifa ur-Rehman, Ishrat Jehan, Umar Gautam, Qazi Jahangir Qasmi, Kaleem Siddiqui, Natasha Narwal, Devangana Kalita, Asif Iqbal Tanha, and Safoora Zargar.
Also included are Abdullah Gautam, Jam Singh, Ansingh Ninama, Mangu Mehtab Bhuriya, Javeed Khan, Nandha Nathaniel, Savita Singh, Ramesh Vasuniya, Kumtu Vasuniya, Saju Ben, Sama Ben, Ranga Ben, Adya, Kishor Ram, Fahad Shah, and Hidme Markam.

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie

Whither climate goal? Increasing reliance on coal 'likely to worsen' India's power crisis

By Shankar Sharma*  Recent news articles, How to shock-proof India’s power sector and Power minister points finger at states for worsening electricity crisis , have highlighted a few current problems for the ongoing power sector issues as in April 2022. However, there is a lot more to it than a few temporary solutions as indicated in the articles. It should also be emphasised that it is techno-economically impossible to completely shock-proof a highly complex and geographically wide-spread vast power network, such as the one in India, which is only getting more and more complex with the passage of each year due to some irrational policies/ practices in the sector. A business-as-usual (BAU) scenario, wherein more and more of conventional technology power plants, including coal power plants, will be added in the near future, will also necessitate the increased complexity in the integrated national grid, and as a result the instances of power shortage/ disruptions can only escalate for

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Dalit scholar's comment on Lord Shiva 'harming' Muslims, 'damaging' secular cause

Shahid Siddiqui, Bobby Naqvi By Our Representative   Bobby Naqvi, who is with the "Gulf News", and is a well-known name among Muslim intellectuals, strongly objecting to the social media post of Prof Ratan Lal, has said that "a big reason for majoritarian hatred against Muslims is irresponsible remarks by people like Prof Ratan Lal of Delhi University." In a Facebook comment , which has attracted paise, among others, from journaliat-politician Shahid Siddiqui, Naqvi said, "Their commentary on Hinduism and icons of Hinduism (while angering religious and liberal Hindus alike) also triggers a massive backlash against Muslims. When the likes of Prof Lal criticize Hinduism on social media, Hindus bring Islam and Islamic practices and ask 'what about this' or 'what about that'." Naqvi insists, "Muslims (without their fault) and Islam get caught in this crossfire between the so called Hindu liberal class and the religious Hindus. And the ult

Why there's strong likelihood India may resurrect its presence in Afghan capital

By Anand K Sahay* Since India evacuated its mission in Afghanistan once the Taliban re-took Kabul last August practically under American aegis, following what came to be called the Taliban’s Doha “negotiations” with the US, New Delhi is evidently doing a re-think. It is considered likely that an Indian representation will soon be restored in Kabul, even if this will be small and not at the level of ambassador. This is reflective of realistic thinking. Of course, there can be no question at present of according recognition to the Taliban regime. That is likely to happen when a broad consensus amongst the leading powers emerges. Currently the Taliban government is not helping its own cause of gaining world recognition- which will help it access overseas funds at a time when the country is in dire straits- by imposing severe restrictions on women and girls in serious violation of human rights. More basic is the issue that the Taliban regime is not considered r

Message to 'high caste' attackers? Dalit leader's daughter rides elephant in wedding march

By Our Representative  In what has been termed as “jumbo celebration”, a Gujarat Dalit rights leader belonging to Saurashtra region ensured that his daughter rides an elephant as part of wedding celebrations which took place in Vadhwan town of Surendranagar district. Natubhai Parmar, who shot into prominence for organising a unique protest against the notorious Una flogging incident in 2016, in which five Dalit boys were flogged as they allegedly slaughtered a cow. Belonging to the Rohit community, whose traditionally live by skinning dead cows, in 2016, Parmar reached Surendranagar district collector’s office with vehicles full of carcasses of cows asking him to organise them disposal of, declaring, his community had decided not to continue with the caste occupation, as it had been termed cow slaughter by saffron vigilantes. The decision to make his daughter ride the elephant, which he brought to Ahmedabad, was to send a message to members of the dominant castes, whose aggressive atta

Govt of India 'ignores' GMO regulation, 'overlooks' Constitutional process

Counterview Desk Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi, independent public policy expert, in a letter to Nareshpal Gangwar, additional secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), New Delhi, has expressed “seriously concern” that a recent office memorandum (OM) has sought to exempt certain types of gene-edited plants from the country's genetically modified organism  (GMO) regulations, without any reason or basis or representation. Dr Reddy regretted, “Such a serious decision, with an impact scale of unimaginable proportions, in terms of time and ecology, is being pushed through an ordinary office memorandum”, insisting, “This is circumvention of the processes enshrined in Indian Constitution, which has defined democratic participation in matters of critical importance.” Stating that the exemption from regulation is a policy decision and has legal implications, he demanded immediate withdrawal the OM, insisting, the government should take a "strong stand again

Himalayan tragedy: Labour laws for migrant workers violated at Ramganga dam site

By Bharat Dogra* The extremely tragic death of 10 workers at a tunnel construction site in Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar highway has again drawn attention to the serious hazards faced by workers employed in highways and dams in Himalayan region, several of them in very remote areas. These workers were trapped after a landslide hit the under-construction tunnel on May 19, followed later by one more landslide. Apart from these deaths, the remaining workers suffered injuries. While overall conditions at many such construction sites are known to be hazardous, according to preliminary reports the risks here increased due to sub-contracts which resulted in work being handled by those who did not have much experience or knowledge of such hazardous conditions. Sub-contracting is a common practice in such work and the principal employer gets away with less legal liability for hazardous conditions. Workers face more risks under this system and their rights are adversely affected. This