USCIRF Recommends to Flag India, 14 Others as ‘Country of Particular Concern'

USCIRF said, "The (Indian) government continued to systemise its ideological vision of a Hindu state."

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Hindi Female

A United States (US) Congress-constituted quasi-judicial body, named US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), on Monday, 25 April, recommended to the Biden Administration to designate India, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and 11 other countries as "Country of Particular Concern" in the context of their religious freedom.

While the recommendations of the USCIRF are not binding on the US government, the body had made a similar recommendation to the US government last year that was not accepted by the Biden administration.

Meanwhile, India has in the past rejected the reports by USCIRF, and said that the American body on international religious freedom has chosen to be guided only by its biases on a matter on which it has no locus standi, news agency PTI reported.

Other countries recommended for this designation by the USCIRF are Burma, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

‘Religious Freedom and Rule of Law Protected’: MEA

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) had said in the past, "Our principled position remains that we see no locus standi for a foreign entity to pronounce on the state of our citizens' constitutionally protected rights."

The ministry added, "We have a robust public discourse in India and constitutionally mandated institutions that guarantee the protection of religious freedom and rule of law."

‘Indian Govt Systemising Ideological Vision of a Hindu State’: USCIRF

The USCRIF said in its statement, "In 2021, religious freedom conditions in India significantly worsened. During the year, the Indian government escalated its promotion and enforcement of policies, including those promoting a Hindu-nationalist agenda-that negatively affect Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and other religious minorities," PTI reported.

It added:

"The government continued to systemise its ideological vision of a Hindu state at both the national and state levels through the use of both existing and new laws and structural changes hostile to the country's religious minorities."
US Commission for International Religious Freedom.

The USCIRF was established by the US government in 1998 after the inaction of the International Religious Freedom Act, recommendations of USCIRF are non-binding on the state department.

Apart from not recognising the view of USCIRF, India has also continued to deny visas to members of the USCIRF for over a decade.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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Topics:  India    United States   Hindu Rashtra 

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