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US government panel has called for India to be put on a religious freedom blacklist

US government panel has called for India to be put on a religious freedom blacklist

Saad Ali Rana
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A US government panel has called for India to be put on a religious freedom blacklist over a “drastic” downturn under the prime minister, Narendra Modi, triggering a sharp response from New Delhi.

The US commission on international religious freedom recommends but does not set policy, and there is virtually no chance the state department will follow its lead on India, an increasingly close US ally. In an annual report, the bipartisan panel said that India should join the ranks of “countries of particular concern” that would be subject to sanctions if they do not improve their records.

“In 2019, religious freedom conditions in India experienced a drastic turn downward, with religious minorities under increasing assault,” the report said.

The Guardian

Intolerance against Muslims

The commission said that Modi’s Hindu nationalist government, which won a convincing election victory last year, “allowed violence against minorities and their houses of worship to continue with impunity, and also engaged in and tolerated hate speech and incitement to violence”.

It pointed to comments by the home minister, Amit Shah, who referred to mostly Muslim migrants as “termites”, and to a citizenship law that has triggered nationwide protests. It also highlighted the revocation of the autonomy of Kashmir, which was India’s only Muslim-majority state, and allegations that Delhi police turned a blind eye to mobs who attacked Muslim neighborhoods in February this year.

The Indian government, which has long been irritated by the commission’s comments, quickly rejected the report.

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