The Indian Government is again in Global news for denial of Visas to the Internationals watchdogs on religious freedom. This action was in response to the criticism done in the United States commission of international religious freedom (USICRF) report. The report suggested growing intolerance towards minority Muslims through the Citizenship Amendment Act, scrapping of Article 370 in the Jammu and Kashmir, mob lynchings, and the recent Delhi Riots.
External Affairs Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar responded via letter on June 1 to BJP MP Nishikant Dubey who raised the observation made by the USCIRF, in Parliament in December 2019.
In his letter to Dubey, Jaishankar wrote, “We have denied a visa to USCIRF teams that have sought to visit India in connection with issues related to religious freedom, as we do not see the locus standi of a foreign entity like USCIRF to pronounce on the state of Indian citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.”
S Jaishankar said, the government firmly repudiated the surveys of the commission, which had little knowledge of the rights of Indian citizens, describing it as biased and prejudiced.
In April, USCIRF recommended the US administration to designate India a “country of particular concern” along with China, North Korea, Russia, and Syria. These recommendations were last made by the USCIRF in 2004, against the backdrop of Gujarat Riots in 2002. USCIRF’s annual report mentioned Amit Shah twice, once for referring to the migrants as “termites” that needs to be eradicated.
“In 2019, religious freedom conditions in India experienced a drastic turn downward, with religious minorities under increasing assault,” the USICRF report said.
USICRF spokeswoman, Danielle Saroyan Ashbahian said the representatives wanted to visit India because they wanted a constructive dialogue between the two allies and urged India to have confidence.
“As a pluralistic, non-sectarian, and democratic state, and a close partner of the United States, India should have the confidence to allow our visit, which would allow it to convey its views directly to USCIRF in a constructive dialogue,” she said in an email to Al-Jazeera.
On Wednesday, US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo presented a 2019 International Religious Freedom Report mandated by the US congress which documents major instances of violation of religious freedom across the globe in Washington, DC.
About India the report Highlighted the revocation of Article 370 in Kashmir in August, scrapping the autonomy of the state by the Modi government, the passage of CAA in December which excluded Muslims from it, year around attacks by Hindu vigilantes on Muslims and Dalits, over cows considered a sacred animal by Hindus.
“Mob attacks by violent Hindu groups against minority communities, including Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumors that victims had traded or killed cows for beef,” said the report and it further stated that the police often registered F.I.R.’s on victims of the mob Lynching.
According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), the Ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom in Trump administration Sumeal Brownback said “trend lines (on religious freedom) have been troubling” in India.
“We do remain very concerned about what’s taking place in India. It’s historically just been a very tolerant, respectful country of religions, of all religions,” Brownback said during a phone call with journalists on Wednesday.
The Modi Government has irrationally refused their co-operation through authoritarian hindrance towards a commission which seeks sanctions on BJP official for their aggressive Hindutva Ideology and wants the Government to clarify these remarks through constructive dialogue. It is a desperate attempt to refute the truth through aggression, although it seems that this attempt has turned every eye across the globe on the vigorously deteriorating Secular stance of the nation and further revealed intolerant saffron veil of the Government. The Modi Government should realize now that closing one’s eyes, doesn’t make the world without lights.