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Spiritual freedom in India ‘considerably worsened’: US panel | Faith Information

For third straight 12 months, US fee recommends including India to non secular freedom blacklist over alleged abuses.

The state of non secular freedom in India “considerably worsened” final 12 months, a United States panel has stated, calling for focused sanctions in opposition to the nation over alleged abuses.

In its annual report launched on Monday, the US Fee on Worldwide Spiritual Freedom (USCIRF) urged the State Division for the third straight 12 months to place India on the US checklist of “international locations of specific concern”.

The impartial bipartisan panel accused India of “partaking in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of non secular freedom”.

The USCIRF places ahead suggestions and paperwork alleged abuses, however the State Division in the end makes the choice on the non secular freedom blacklist.

“Throughout the 12 months, the Indian authorities escalated its promotion and enforcement of insurance policies—together with these selling a Hindu-nationalist agenda—that negatively have an effect on Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and different non secular minorities,” the report (PDF) stated.

“The federal government continued to systemize its ideological imaginative and prescient of a Hindu state at each the nationwide and state ranges by way of using each current and new legal guidelines and structural modifications hostile to the nation’s non secular minorities.”

India has beforehand rejected the fee’s advice to blacklist the nation over alleged violations of non secular freedom, calling its findings “biased”.

Monday’s report comes as US officers say they’re searching for “most alignment” with India over Russia coverage and the battle in Ukraine. Washington has additionally been strengthening ties with New Delhi amid rising competitors with China.

US President Joe Biden held a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this month and the 2 leaders are set to satisfy in Tokyo subsequent month as a part of a summit for the leaders of the Asia-Pacific “Quad” alliance, which additionally consists of Japan and Australia.

Nonetheless, the USCIRF on Monday accused India of repressing human rights defenders from non secular minorities.

The fee hit out in opposition to the Indian authorities over a citizenship law that fast-tracks naturalisation for non-Muslims, calling it “discriminatory”, whereas additionally slamming anti-religious conversion legal guidelines that it stated goal interfaith marriages in some states.

“Authorities motion, together with the continued enforcement of anti-conversion legal guidelines in opposition to non-Hindus, has created a tradition of impunity for nationwide campaigns of threats and violence by mobs and vigilante teams, together with in opposition to Muslims and Christians accused of conversion actions,” the report reads.

India’s Muslim minority has been facing mob violence and assaults by right-wing Hindu teams.

Individually, the USCIRF referred to as for designating Afghanistan as a “nation of specific concern” (CPC) after the Taliban takeover.

The present US State Division non secular freedom blacklist consists of China, Eritrea, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

“USCIRF usually recommends extra international locations be designated as CPCs than the State Division will designate,” Nadine Maenza, the fee’s chair, told Al Jazeera final 12 months. “A part of the discrepancy is as a result of USCIRF can give attention to non secular freedom circumstances alone without having to stability different bilateral points.”

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