ISLAMABAD: The US Commission on Worldwide Religious Freedom (USCIRF) in its annual report launched on Tuesday beneficial that the State Division ought to designate India as “nation of specific concern” or CPC, for “partaking in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious non secular freedom violations, as outlined by the Worldwide Non secular Freedom Act (IRFA)”.
Giving India its harshest score since 2004, the impartial and bipartisan US federal authorities commission additionally pushed for imposing focused sanctions on Indian authorities businesses and officers accountable for extreme violations of spiritual freedom by freezing these people’ property and/ or barring their entry into the US underneath human rights-related monetary and visa authorities, citing particular non secular freedom violations.
It advised strengthening the US Embassy and consulates’ engagement with religious communities, native officers, and police in India, particularly in areas impacted by religiously motivated violence.
The USCIRF additionally referred to as for rising US partnerships with Indian regulation enforcement to construct capability to guard non secular minorities, homes of worship, and different holy websites, and confront religious-based hate crimes.
It proposed allocating funding to assist civil society in India to create a monitoring and early warning system in partnership with police to problem hate speech and incitement to violence.
The USCIRF beneficial that the US Congress ought to proceed to carry hearings highlighting non secular freedom situations in India and the federal government’s coverage towards the nation.
“In December 2019, parliament handed the CAA, offering a pathway to citizenship for non-Muslim migrants already in India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan by treating them as refugees fleeing non secular persecution,” the report learn.
The Citizenship (Modification) Act in #India “doubtlessly exposes thousands and thousands of Muslims to detention, deportation, and statelessness when the federal government completes its deliberate nationwide Nationwide Register of Residents” USCIRF Vice Chair @nadinemaenza #USCIRFAnnualReport2020
— USCIRF (@USCIRF) April 28, 2020
“The CAA can be much more problematic together with a nationwide NRC, which could possibly be modeled after the statewide NRC in Assam, and is a aim outlined within the BJP’s manifesto and repeatedly promised by BJP management,”it added.
“The NRC course of in Assam raised vital issues: impoverished households couldn’t current the required paperwork on account of poor document preserving or illiteracy. Even with documentation, residents have been excluded due to minor inconsistencies; some have been excluded regardless of utilizing the identical paperwork as included family members. The Foreigners’ Tribunals that adjudicate citizenship standing have been critiqued for his or her anti-minority bias. In December, the Parliament permitted an NPR to gather residents’ citizenship information. In keeping with authorities statements and underneath the Citizenship Guidelines, 2003, the NPR—which permits residents to be marked as “uncertain residents” and positioned underneath scrutiny—is step one towards a nationwide NRC.”
The USCIRF famous that cow safety had been promoted as a key challenge by the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). “Lynch mobs, typically organised over social media, have attacked minorities—together with Muslims, Christians, and Dalits—underneath suspicion of consuming beef, slaughtering cows, or transporting cattle for slaughter. Because the BJP got here to energy in 2014, there have been over 100 assaults, amounting to over 98 % of such assaults since 2010. Lynching victims, slightly than the perpetrators, are sometimes arrested underneath these legal guidelines.”
The fee noticed that whereas the Indian structure protected the proper to proselytise, 10 states had anti-conversion legal guidelines criminalising conversion utilizing drive, allurement, inducement, or fraud, however many use obscure language that may be interpreted as prohibiting consensual conversions.
“In 2019, the BJP-ruled Himachal Pradesh elevated the penalties for pressured conversions. Authorities predominately arrest Muslims and Christians for conversion actions. Up to now, nevertheless, there aren’t any identified convictions for pressured conversion. Hindutva teams pursue mass conversions by means of ceremonies generally known as ghar wapsi (homecoming), with out interference from authorities,” the report learn.
“Empowered by anti-conversion legal guidelines and sometimes with the police’s complicity, Hindutva teams additionally conduct campaigns of harassment, social exclusion, and violence in opposition to Christians, Muslims, and different religious minorities throughout the nation. Following assaults by Hindutva teams in opposition to religious minorities for conversion actions, the police typically arrest the religious minorities who’ve been attacked. In September 2019, the Dwelling Ministry launched new guidelines underneath the International Contribution (Regulation) Act requiring all members of nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) to signal an affidavit affirming they’ve ‘not been prosecuted or convicted for indulging in pressured non secular conversion or creating communal tensions’ to obtain overseas funding. Religion-based NGOs, particularly Christian organizations, expressed worry that that is supposed to restrict their actions.”
The USCIRF famous that in August final 12 months, the India stripped the Muslim-majority occupied Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy and imposed safety measures, together with proscribing freedom of motion and meeting, chopping Web and telephone entry, and arresting Kashmiri leaders, together with religious leaders.
“The restrictions on motion and meeting restricted the power to attend prayers and spiritual ceremonies. The USCIRF additionally obtained a number of studies of mosques being closed, imams and Muslim leaders arrested and detained, and threats and violence by extremist teams.”
The commission noticed that US officers highlighted issues over India’s non secular freedom violations by means of public statements, congressional hearings, and bilateral engagements. “In October, US Ambassador-at-Giant for Religious Freedom Samuel D. Brownback travelled to India. The Indian authorities, nevertheless, continued to reject the State Division and USCIRF’s reporting on non secular freedom violations in India.”
USCIRF Vice Chair Nadine Maenza mentioned maybe the “steepest, and most alarming, deterioration in non secular freedom situations was in India, the biggest democracy on the planet”.
“Essentially the most “startling and disturbing” was India’s passage of a citizenship modification act that fast-tracks citizenship for newcomers who belong to 6 religions however excludes Muslims,” she added.
“This doubtlessly exposes thousands and thousands of Muslims to detention, deportation and statelessness when the federal government completes its plan for a nationwide, nationwide register.”
The USCIRF beneficial 14 countries for designation as CPCs together with 9 that the State Division designated in December 2019 — Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan — in addition to 5 others India, Nigeria, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.
As a substitute of utilizing its personal “Tier 2” class, as in previous studies, the 2020 Annual Report additionally recommends 15 international locations for placement on the State Division’s Particular Watch List (SWL) for extreme violations. These embrace 4 that the State Division positioned on that listing in December 2019—Cuba, Nicaragua, Sudan, and Uzbekistan—in addition to 11 others—Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Central African Republic (CAR), Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, and Turkey. The USCIRF had beneficial Sudan, Uzbekistan, and CAR for CPC designation in its 2019 Annual Report; the SWL suggestions this 12 months are based mostly on improved situations in these international locations.
The 2020 Annual Report additional recommends to the State Division six non-state actors for designation as “entities of specific concern” (EPCs) for systematic, ongoing, egregious violations. These consist of 5 teams that the State Division designated in December 2019—al-Shabaab in Somalia, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Houthis in Yemen, Islamic State in Khorasan Province (ISKP) in Afghanistan, and the Taliban in Afghanistan—plus one different—Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in Syria.