Indian National Overseas Congress, USA expressed serious concern over the recently issued annual report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a powerful freedom body that exercises considerable influence on the US Senate and Administration, which cited that religious tolerance has deteriorated and religious freedom violations have increased in India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s regime. “It is unfortunate that the last two years have witnessed a steady deterioration of religious freedom and human rights in India especially that of the minorities and the current administration cannot shirk their responsibility in that regard,” said George Abraham, Chairman of the Indian National Overseas Congress, USA.
According to the recently released report, India faces serious challenges to both its pluralistic traditions and its religious minorities. “Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, and Jains generally are fearful of what the future portends. Dalits also are increasingly being attacked and harassed”.
It further urged the Indian government to immediately lift its sanctions against non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that are working for the welfare of the minorities in India. It also pointed out that FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) is increasingly being used as a tool to shut down foreign-funded minority NGOs.
In an unusually sharp criticism of the Modi Administration, the USCIRF wants the US administration to identify and act against “Hindutva groups that raise funds from US citizens and support hate campaigns in India”, adding “such groups should be banned from operating in the US if they are found to spread hatred against religious minorities in India.”
INOC, USA urges the growing Indian community in the United States to refrain from funding these organizations that promote hatred and bigotry against the minorities in India. More than ever, as minorities in the United States, it is incumbent upon us to uphold the democratic and pluralistic values that are a hallmark of this country and it is in our own ‘vested interests’ to see that those values preserved and protected.