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lmpose sanctions on Indian govt agencies, officials for violating minority rights: USCIRF

By Our Representative 

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has decided to recommend to the US government to declare India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its "severe violations" of human rights and religious freedoms for the fifth consecutive year.
The CPC label is a designation reserved for the world’s worst violators of religious freedom.
In its 2024 annual report, USCIRF  highlighted that religious freedoms in India continued to deteriorate, including through enforcing discriminatory nationalist policies, perpetuating hateful rhetoric, and failing to address communal violence “disproportionately affecting” religious minorities, and “targeting of religious minorities and those advocating on their behalf.”
USCIRF similarly expressed its disappointment with the Biden administration for ignoring its recommendation to designate India as a CPC in 2023.
“In December, the U.S. Department of State failed to designate India as a CPC despite major religious freedom concerns,” the report stated.
The report pointed out the scope of anti-Muslim violence by Hindu supremacists, saying. “Throughout the year, violence against Muslims and their places of worship continued. Several mosques were destroyed under police presence and vigilantes attacked Muslims under the guise of protecting cows from slaughter, deemed illegal in 18 states.”
Examples cited included mass anti-Muslim violence in Haryana state in July 2023, the murder of three Muslim train passengers by a Hindu extremist security officer, and cow vigilante violence orchestrated by prominent vigilante Monu Manesar, including the abduction and brutal mob lynching of two Muslim men in January.
USCIRF also emphasized that “Indian authorities also increasingly engaged in acts of transnational repression targeting religious minorities abroad,” citing the reported involvement of the Indian government in the killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada, as well as a plot to kill Sikh American activist Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in New York.
In addition to recommending that India be listed on the CPC list, USCIRF has also urged the US government to raise religious freedom issues in the U.S.-India bilateral relationship and to impose targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for severe violations of minority rights.

Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), claiming to be the largest advocacy organization of Indian Muslims in the United States, has lauded USCIRF for once again recommending India as a CPC, even as regretting that the Biden administration has consistently ignored this recommendation for years.  
IAMC executive director Rasheed Ahmed said in a statement, “Especially in the light of increasing transnational repression from the Indian government, the administration must immediately act on all of USCIRF’s recommendations to hold India accountable, rather than giving Modi a free pass to abuse human rights both in India and abroad.”
 Calling on the US Department of State to immediately act on the Commission’s recommendations and holding the Indian government accountable for escalating a climate of anti-minority violence and hatred, IAMC urged the Indian government to take immediate steps to address these concerns and protect the rights of all of its citizens, regardless of their religion.



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