US panel: USCIRF, America’s religious freedom watchdog, has urged the Biden administration to designate India as a country of particular concern because of its alleged persecution of religious minorities abroad.
The US Religious Freedom Watchdog urged the Biden administration on Friday to designate India as a country of particular concern under the US Religious Freedom Act, citing its alleged persecution of religious minorities around the world. – US panel
According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent federal government commission, recent efforts by the Indian government to silence activists, journalists, and lawyers abroad pose a serious threat to religious freedom.
USCIRF implores the US Department of State to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern due to India’s systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of freedom of religion or belief, according to a statement released by the organization.
The alleged involvement of the Indian government in the killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada and a plot to kill another Sikh activist, Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, in the United States, according to USCIRF Commissioner Stephen Schneck, is deeply troubling.
US panel designates India as a ‘concern’ for religious freedom.
The Indian embassy in Washington did not respond right away to a request for comment. The Hindu-majority country’s government routinely denies any discrimination.
Federal prosecutors in Manhattan announced this month that an Indian national collaborated on the plot to assassinate a New York City resident who advocated for a sovereign Sikh state in northern India with an unnamed Indian government employee. The government of India has denied any involvement in the plot.
The issue is extremely sensitive for both India and the Biden administration as they seek closer ties in the face of an ascendant China seen as a threat to both democracies.
According to USCIRF Commissioner David Curry, India’s expansion of domestic repression to target religious minorities living in India “is especially dangerous and cannot be ignored.”
When the recommendation was first issued in 2020, India’s foreign ministry dismissed it, citing “biased and tendentious comments.”