Skip to main content

Biden govt should stop talking about India as a secular democracy: US summit told

By Our Representative 

The demolition of the homes of Muslims in India was part of a continuing pattern of discrimination against Muslims and other minorities, and the US must ask the Indian government to end such action, United States Senator Ed Markey has said.
He added, the patter includes vandalism of “mosques and churches, and the implementation of laws that specifically discriminate against religious minorities.” He was speaking at the International Religious Freedom summit organized at Washington DC last week.
Insisting that the US “must encourage the Indian government to fulfill its commitment to its own citizens the right of all individuals to practice and propagate religious [beliefs] enshrined in India’s constitution”, he added, it was “incumbent on the Indian government to uphold the principles of pluralism and secularism which are embedded in the Indian constitution.”
The summit was organised by the India Working Group of the International Religious Freedom Roundtable, claiming to the world’s largest civil society collective for religious freedom.
Also speaking at the summit, Nadine Maenza, the former Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), pressed the Biden administration to immediately condemn the “crimes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) against Indian religious minorities.”
Maenza, who recently finished her two year term as the chair of USCRIF stated that it was “disappointing” to see that the situation in India “has sharply worsened” since the release of USCIRF’s annual report documenting religious freedoms violations in 2021.
This report included a recommendation to the Biden administration to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for ongoing and egregious crimes against religious minorities for the third year in row.
“We made clear that these recommendations are urgent due to the undemocratic manner in which Modi, the BJP, and affiliated Hindu extremist groups have advocated, instituted, and enforced sectarian policies seeking to establish India as an overtly Hindu state, at grave danger to India’s religious minorities,” Maenza said.
Stating that it is long past time for the Biden administration to heed the recommendations made by USCIRF for three consecutive years, Maenza warned, “If urgent action is not taken, we could very well be staring down the barrel of yet another genocide.”
Islam Siddiqui, former Chief Agricultural Negotiator with the rank of ambassador at the Office of the US Trade Representatives under the Obama administration questioned Biden administration's reluctance to designate India as CPC. “Secretary Blinken should stop talking about [India as a] secular democracy… That was in the past. The Modi government’s actions clearly indicate that they do not uphold those values,” Siddiqui said.
It is incumbent on the Indian government to uphold principles of pluralism and secularism which are embedded in Indian constitution
Dr Gregory Stanton, the founder of Genocide Watch while calling Hindutva a Nazi project described Modi and other similar world leaders as “racists dedicated to the triumph of their own race or religion [and] nationalists who would deny basic human rights to anyone not of their race or religion.”
“We’re seeing from… our history of working on genocide, how media is being used in India like it was used in Bosnia, how Facebook is being used in India like it was used during the Rohingya genocide, how there are detention camps much like the Uyghur detention camps in China,” said Hena Zubairi, Director of Justice For All, an advocacy group that works to combat global Islamophobia and anti-Muslim violence.
“When Freedom House says that India is ‘Partly Free’... they are being polite and very subtle. India is not a democracy. India is formally known as a socialist, secular democratic republic. It is neither socialist now, nor secular; not democracy… Today India is ruled by the killers of Gandhi, and they come here wearing Gandhi’s mask,” added Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director, Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC).
John Prabhudoss, Chairman of the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA), a Washington DC-based advocacy organization, called on the US churches to defend the rights of minorities in India. “What the church in America needs to understand is that the Muslims, the Christians, [and] the Sikhs are all in the same boat as far as India is concerned. One of them sinks, everybody sinks,” Prabhudoss said.
Speaking on behalf of Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), an organization that advocates for civil and human rights in South Asia and North America, Policy Director Ria Chakrabarty said, “We not only denounce Hindutva; we also believe that it is not encompassed by the Hinduism that we believe in. One of the things we hope for other Hindu Americans to do is join us to stand against majoritarian violence and support the fight for justice in India.”

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

Attack on Gaza: Western media 'went out of the way' to obscure, protect perpetrators

By Sonali Kolhatkar*  Israeli forces killed more than a hundred Palestinians and wounded more than 700 on February 29, 2024 during a distribution of food aid in Gaza city, pushing the Palestinian death toll to 30,000 since October 7, 2023. The food aid massacre was straightforward in its deadliness as armed Israeli forces aimed weapons at desperate, hungry Palestinian civilians and killed many of them. It was also plausible within the context of who has firepower and who doesn’t, and wholly consistent with Israeli atrocities, especially those committed since October 7, 2023.

Living standards in 'model' Gujarat worse than major states: Govt of India document

By Rajiv Shah  Amidst raging controversy over whether the latest Government of India’s “Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23 Fact Sheet: August 2022-July 2023” suggests that India’s poverty levels are actually down to 4.5 to 5%  during the decade-long Narendra Modi rule, a state-wise breakup in the 27-page document shows that “model” Gujarat’s average consumption expenditure is far below most of the so-called developed states.

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

Not livable in summer, Chitrakut PM-Awas houses 'push' tribals in moneylender trap

By Bharat Dogra*  Those who are in-charge of implementing the PM-Awas scheme of rural housing can rightly take pride in what has been achieved in Dafai hamlet (Karvi block, Chitrakut district, Uttar Pradesh). All the Kol tribal families here are extremely poor and vulnerable. In a rare achievement, almost all of them have received housing assistance under PM Awas. 

Stressing on standardisation, efficiency, capitalists 'intensify' workers' exploitation

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The productivist ideology lies at the core of the profit-making pyramid of capitalism. It perpetuates a relentless cycle characterized by busy schedules, workplace tension, an imbalance in work-life equilibrium, and a pervasive sense of alienation. 

Development? This tribal hamlet in Chitrakut has no toilets, no electricity connections yet

By Bharat Dogra*  As we moved away from the starting point of the Bundelkhand Expressway and a famous pilgrimage site into a side-road, the hills of Chitrakut here appeared to be more and more isolated. Another turn, and we appeared to have reached almost a dead-end. However it is here that over 80 households of the Kol tribal community have been living for a long time.

WTO 'loses legitimacy': CSOs shut out of normal participation in MC13 at Abu Dhabi

By Deborah James  Given unprecedented repression of participants, the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) at Abu Dhabi should not continue until historical and international standards and human rights for participation in global governance are restored.

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".