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US religious freedom panel 'disappointed': State Dept refusal to label India a violator

By Our Representative 

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an autonomous body created by the US government having recommendatory powers, has expressed "extreme disappointment" over the US State Department’s omission to label India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), a designation reserved for the world’s most severe violators of religious freedoms.
According to USCIRF, there was “no justification as to why the State Department did not designate” India as CPC over rampant human rights violations under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.
A US federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998, USCIRF’s commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. Its principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and the Congress.
“We met with the State Department on many occasions to sound the alarm about these countries, but not all of our recommendations have been followed. We will not be deterred and will continue our role as a congressionally mandated watchdog to ensure the US government prioritizes religious freedom as a key component of U.S. foreign policy,” USCIRF Chair Abraham Cooper and Vice Chair Frederick A Davie was quoted as saying by an Indian diaspora NGO.
“In India, in addition to perpetrating egregious religious freedom violations within its borders, the government has increased its transnational repression activities targeting religious minorities abroad and those advocating on their behalf,” they added.
Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of the diaspora NGO, the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), said, “The unchecked rise in violence and discrimination against religious minorities in India demands global attention. Despite repeated alarms raised with the State Department, the absence of India's CPC designation is deeply concerning, failing to address the rampant human rights violations under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government.”
“The continued transnational repression targeting religious minorities both within and beyond Indian borders highlights the urgent need for action and accountability on the international stage. Repeated failure to designate India as a CPC will only encourage the Indian government to double down on its persecution,” Ahmed added.

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