Catholic Bishops in India Stand Firm Amidst Rising Attacks, Affirm Commitment to Serving the Marginalized

Christian institutions and individuals in India are facing an escalation of attacks and harassment, yet the Catholic bishops affirm their unwavering commitment to serving the marginalized. The 36th biennial meeting of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), attended by over 170 bishops from the country’s 174 dioceses, concluded with a resolute statement emphasizing their dedication to the nation despite adversities.

In their final statement, the bishops affirmed, “As loyal citizens of India, we will continue serving our country whatever be the cost, walking in the footsteps of Jesus our Master.” The conference, held from January 31 to February 7 at Bengaluru’s St John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, deliberated on pertinent themes including the Church’s role in the current socio-political landscape and the implications of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Acknowledging India’s strides in various domains, the bishops expressed pride in the nation’s achievements while highlighting persistent socio-economic disparities. They lamented that the benefits of development have disproportionately reached a small segment of society, leaving many grappling with unemployment and rural-urban migration, exacerbating the digital divide.

The bishops voiced concern over rising divisive tendencies, hate speech, and fundamentalist movements eroding the secular fabric enshrined in India’s Constitution. They deplored attacks on Christians and their institutions, citing incidents of violence, property destruction, and harassment under the pretext of allegations related to conversions.

During the bishops’ gathering, several arrests occurred in Uttar Pradesh, where a Catholic priest, five Protestant pastors, and a layperson were detained over accusations of engaging in conversion activities. Despite a denial of bail by a lower court on February 7, efforts are underway to secure their release through legal avenues.

The meeting also addressed the protracted violence in Manipur, condemning clashes between the Meitei and Kuki ethnic communities, with a significant Christian population among the latter. Expressing dismay at the loss of lives and livelihoods, the bishops urged for lasting peace and reconciliation in the region.

Highlighting concerns about democratic institutions’ integrity and media responsibility, the bishops emphasized the need to uphold constitutional principles and combat religious polarization. They called upon political leaders to safeguard India’s secular and democratic ethos, urging citizens to actively participate in the upcoming elections.

Reiterating longstanding demands, the bishops urged the government to grant Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians and other marginalized minorities while safeguarding the Scheduled Tribe status of Christian tribal communities. Additionally, they reaffirmed their commitment to fostering interreligious dialogue and community solidarity.

Despite facing challenges and setbacks, the Catholic bishops in India remain steadfast in their mission to uphold democratic values, promote social justice, and advocate for the rights of the marginalized, demonstrating resilience and determination in the face of adversity.

Can America Stop India’s Anti-Christian Crusade In Its Tracks

(Global Christian Relief) — The world’s largest democracy should be protecting the religious rights of all of its people. On Jan. 2, a mob of about 1,000 extremists — men and women, young and old — armed with rocks, wooden sticks and iron rods viciously attacked Sacred Heart Church in central India’s Narayanpur district. While this kind of anti-Christian violence may be shocking, it’s not altogether surprising. Attacks against Christians in India have been steadily rising for years, jumping 81% from 2020 to 2021 alone.

Picture : RNS

The mob in this case was reportedly protesting “illegal” conversions and church construction, but this was no mere protest. Videos captured by one of Global Christian Relief’s partners show the crowd throwing rocks and bashing in windows of the church building and church vehicles. Police officers are seen standing by and even falling back as they allowed the frenzied mob to vandalize the church. Footage of the aftermath shows a destroyed Nativity, broken chairs and scattered debris.

Stories like these have become sadly routine since 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party rose to power. They have stoked attacks on Muslim and Christian minorities and spread their radical Hindutva ideology, claiming that being truly Indian means being Hindu. Reported incidents of violence against Christians have risen more than 220%.

The Modi regime has spent massive amounts of money to plant lobbyists in Washington to help hide the truth. As a result, you likely won’t hear this story inside the Beltway. American lawmakers are discouraged from confronting the truth because India is an important ally of the U.S. in South Asia. But Americans deserve to know it.

Publicly, the U.S. government has mysteriously remained silent about the events at Sacred Heart Church. Its lack of response to this horrific incident speaks volumes about our priorities. America currently does $102.3 billion in trade with India annually, and our economy would be negatively impacted if we fell out of India’s good graces. But will America be held hostage by economic power plays?

The Sacred Heart incident is only one sign of a larger problem. The Indian government has adopted anti-conversion laws and policies in more than 10 states, preventing people from choosing their own faith. These measures are leveraged by those in power to discriminate against religious minorities. This is not only in opposition to what we believe in America but is also in direct conflict with Article 25 of India’s own constitution: “ … all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practice and propagate religion.”

Media coverage of stories like Sacred Heart in India, which is scarce, also shows how Modi’s regime squashes stories of persecution. Only a handful of local outlets reported that five people were arrested that day. Since Modi’s rise to power, the Indian government has shut down news stations midbroadcast and has pressured advertisers as part of a wider assault on dissent. On Reporters Without Borders’ 2022 Press Freedom Index, India fell to 150th out of 180 countries—a journalistic crisis in “the world’s largest democracy.”

With Modi’s lobbyists deterring members of Congress from taking critical positions on India, using tactics such as intimidation and the spread of misinformation, the White House and State Department must hold the government of our largest trade partner accountable. We must demand that India uphold freedom of religion for all its citizens. It’s difficult to do business with people you can’t trust and don’t share common ideals with, especially if you don’t believe they provide basic human rights.

We have much common ground with India but cannot ignore its continued stunning slide into illiberal and radical religious intolerance. (David Curry is president and CEO of Global Christian Relief, America’s leading watchdog organization focused on the plight of persecuted Christians worldwide. In addition to equipping the Western church to advocate and pray for the persecuted, GCR works in the most restrictive countries to protect and encourage Christians threatened by faith-based discrimination and violence.

The above story was published in: Religion News Service.

(The views expressed in this sponsored commentary do not necessarily reflect those of

India Surpasses China As The World’s Most Populous Country

India is poised to become the world’s most populous country this year – surpassing China, which has held the distinction since at least 1950, when the United Nations population records begin. The UN expects that India will overtake China in April, though it may have already reached this milestone since the UN estimates are projections.

Here are key facts about India’s population and its projected changes in the coming decades, based on Pew Research Center analyses of data from the UN and other sources.

How we did this

India’s population has grown by more than 1 billion people since 1950, the year the UN population data begins. The exact size of the country’s population is not easily known, given that India has not conducted a census since 2011, but it is estimated to have more than 1.4 billion people – greater than the entire population of Europe (744 million) or the Americas (1.04 billion). China, too, has more than 1.4 billion people, but while China’s population is declining, India’s continues to grow.

Under the UN’s “medium variant” projection, a middle-of-the-road estimate, India’s population will surpass 1.5 billion people by the end of this decade and will continue to slowly increase until 2064, when it will peak at 1.7 billion people. In the UN’s “high variant” scenario – in which the total fertility rate in India is projected to be 0.5 births per woman above that of the medium variant scenario – the country’s population would surpass 2 billion people by 2068. The UN’s “low variant” scenario – in which the total fertility rate is projected to be 0.5 births below that of the medium variant scenario – forecasts that India’s population will decline beginning in 2047 and fall to 1 billion people by 2100.

People under the age of 25 account for more than 40% of India’s population. In fact, there are so many Indians in this age group that roughly one-in-five people globally who are under the age of 25 live in India. Looking at India’s age distribution another way, the country’s median age is 28. By comparison, the median age is 38 in the United States and 39 in China.

The other two most populous countries in the world, China and the U.S., have rapidly aging populations – unlike India. Adults ages 65 and older comprise only 7% of India’s population as of this year, compared with 14% in China and 18% in the U.S., according to the UN. The share of Indians who are 65 and older is likely to remain under 20% until 2063 and will not approach 30% until 2100, under the UN’s medium variant projections.

The fertility rate in India is higher than in China and the U.S., but it has declined rapidly in recent decades. Today, the average Indian woman is expected to have 2.0 children in her lifetime, a fertility rate that is higher than China’s (1.2) or the United States’ (1.6), but much lower than India’s in 1992 (3.4) or 1950 (5.9). Every religious group in the country has seen its fertility rate fall, including the majority Hindu population and the Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist and Jain minority groups. Among Indian Muslims, for example, the total fertility rate has declined dramatically from 4.4 children per woman in 1992 to 2.4 children in 2019, the most recent year for which data is available from India’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS). Muslims still have the highest fertility rate among India’s major religious groups, but the gaps in childbearing among India’s religious groups are generally much smaller than they used to be.

Fertility rates vary widely by community type and state in India. On average, women in rural areas have 2.1 children in their lifetimes, while women in urban areas have 1.6 children, according to the 2019-21 NFHS. Both numbers are lower than they were 20 years ago, when rural and urban women had an average of 3.7 and 2.7 children, respectively.

Total fertility rates also vary greatly by state in India, from as high as 2.98 in Bihar and 2.91 in Meghalaya to as low as 1.05 in Sikkim and 1.3 in Goa.

Likewise, population growth varies across states. The populations of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh both increased by 25% or more between 2001 and 2011, when the last Indian census was conducted. By comparison, the populations of Goa and Kerala increased by less than 10% during that span, while the population in Nagaland shrank by 0.6%. These differences may be linked to uneven economic opportunities and quality of life.

On average, Indian women in urban areas have their first child 1.5 years later than women in rural areas. Among Indian women ages 25 to 49 who live in urban areas, the median age at first birth is 22.3. Among similarly aged women in rural areas, it is 20.8, according to the 2019 NFHS.

Women with more education and more wealth also generally have children at later ages. The median age at first birth is 24.9 among Indian women with 12 or more years of schooling, compared with 19.9 among women with no schooling. Similarly, the median age at first birth is 23.2 for Indian women in the highest wealth quintile, compared with 20.3 among women in the lowest quintile.

Among India’s major religious groups, the median age of first birth is highest among Jains at 24.9 and lowest among Muslims at 20.8.

India’s artificially wide ratio of baby boys to baby girls – which arose in the 1970s from the use of prenatal diagnostic technology to facilitate sex-selective abortions – is narrowing. From a large imbalance of about 111 boys per 100 girls in India’s 2011 census, the sex ratio at birth appears to have normalized slightly over the last decade. It narrowed to about 109 boys per 100 girls in the 2015-16 NFHS and to 108 boys per 100 girls in the 2019-21 NFHS.

To put this recent decline into perspective, the average annual number of baby girls “missing” in India fell from about 480,000 in 2010 to 410,000 in 2019, according to a Pew Research Center study published in 2022. (Read more about how this “missing” population share is defined and calculated in the “How did we count ‘missing’ girls?” box of the report.) And while India’s major religious groups once varied widely in their sex ratios at birth, today there are indications that these differences are shrinking.

Infant mortality in India has decreased 70% in the past three decades but remains high by regional and international standards. There were 89 deaths per 1,000 live births in 1990, a figure that fell to 27 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020. Since 1960, when the UN Interagency Group for Child Mortality Estimation began compiling this data, the rate of infant deaths in India has dropped between 0.1% and 0.5% each year.

Still, India’s infant mortality rate is higher than those of neighboring Bangladesh (24 deaths per 1,000 live births), Nepal (24), Bhutan (23) and Sri Lanka (6) – and much higher than those of its closest peers in population size, China (6) and the U.S. (5).

Typically, more people migrate out of India each year than into it, resulting in negative net migration. India lost about 300,000 people due to migration in 2021, according to the UN Population Division. The UN’s medium variant projections suggest India will continue to experience net negative migration through at least 2100.

But India’s net migration has not always been negative. As recently as 2016, India gained an estimated 68,000 people due to migration (likely to be a result of an increase in asylum-seeking Rohingya fleeing Myanmar). India also recorded increases in net migration on several occasions in the second half of the 20th century.

Set In Tehran, Iran

3 February, 2023: The First Meeting Of The Doctors

Father was glad he knew at least three other doctors who wanted to work with him on budgeting a proposal to improve the amenities of their hospital, but they would not be able to have their meetings in the hospital for now. Crowd control was at an all-time high in all corners of Iran because of the protests against brutality that had seized the country for the last few months. College campuses were being excessively staffed with police, any woman who did not cover even a bit of her neck or arm was being threatened with arrest, and any sort of gathering in public was patrolled with suspicion. Because Father was a member of the Assyrian community, a Christian sect which happened to be one of the oldest and proudest clans of mankind, he knew he was going to be watched with even further scrutiny. He had been brought up used to having his identity threatened, but in the last two months, he was starting to wonder if life for all minorities, particularly of different religious communities, would start to see more restriction and harassment.

Father had chosen his house because it was in a prosperous and private part of Tehran. Darrous was full of well-lined streets, cedar trees, and embassies, and his house was well gated. It was a neighbourhood for the privileged. He had assumed it would attract little attention because little attention was paid to the lives of the people here in the first place, an area too residential for people to come for the sake of provoking a conversation.

As for the doctors he had invited over, they were Dr Nuri, Dr Ahmedi, and Dr Shah. Dr Nuri was an obstetrician whom Father was introduced to through a friend. Dr Ahmedi sat next to Father once in a while during lunch and was curious about learning more. And Dr Shah was a friend of Dr Safed who was also getting annoyed at how little headway Dr Safed’s petition was making, and who was very vocal in complaining about it. Father had thought of inviting Dr Safed as well, but Dr Safed didn’t work well on teams and would not like it if he were not given most of the credit. So, Father chose these three out of the many doctors he had been talking to in the last month; they came off as mild, sincere, and easy to collaborate with.

But things were a little different. The first thing Dr Shah did when he came into the house was complain about the weather.

It is cold, too much » he said, and he uttered some curse words to emphasise his point before he noticed Father’s wife at the door.  Mother made it clear with the look on her face that she didn’t appreciate such language. That caused Dr Shah’s countenance to change. « Salam walaykum » he said. He gave Father a handshake, then a hug. He greeted Mother very properly by placing his hand on his heart and bowing slightly, as if he were talking to a woman of age in public.

He found his seat on the couch, and then he shouted loudly, « .It is becoming more and more like a war zone in this country .The youngsters go out and speak their mind, but it is us old people that they want to shoot »

Mother came with a tray of chai, but Dr Shah did not even notice it. He was getting riled up by hearing himself speak.

All I am doing is going to a friend’s house .They ask all these stupid questions at the security checks ؟Am I a terrorist for visiting a doctor at his home .We are here to talk about buying new beds and equipment for our seventy-year-old hospital .And the police are talking like I am a terrorist for wanting to visit my colleague and talk about hospital beds … this country and its people are getting worse every day »

Mother said, « Please have your tea » She was still standing there, politely waiting in headscarf and sweater, the hot steam from the tea misting. Dr Shah took it, but he kept ranting on, about things unrelated to the hospital, boring Father immensely, and causing Mother to throw angered stares towards Father. She most likely didn’t agree with much of what Dr Shah said.

When Dr Ahmedi came, the atmosphere became considerably less tense. He respectfully greeted both Mother and Father, took not only the chai but also spoke to Mother warmly, and offered dates which he had gotten on a trip to Muscat. He and Dr Shah happened to be well acquainted, and they had a lot to catch up on. Father didn’t understand much of their conversation because Father did not follow the World Cup; he could only barely remember who Messi was.

Finally, Dr Nuri, the only one of the doctors in Father’s social circle who was a woman, came. This time, Mother went out of the way to greet her. Both Dr Ahmedi and Dr Shah became polite when the two women came to sit on the sofa on the other side. Mother asked all sorts of questions to Dr Nuri—about who her husband was, and which mosque she prayed at, but when Dr Nuri caught wind of the FIFA conversation, she had her own opinion to give.

« ؟Why do you give so much attention to Messi when Amir Nasr-Azadani’s life was taken ؟Are you not thinking about that »

Dr Shah was quick to respond, wildly gesticulating his hands. « .Of course I am thinking about that .It is sad indeed .But this is about football .We were talking about the game »

People’s lives are being lost, and you are talking about a game

Dr Nuri turned to face Dr Ahmedi, who completely averted her eyes, looking to one of the Arabesques that Father had draped on his wall instead. Dr Shah said something, and Dr Nuri batted on. It was becoming a spirited debate, but this was not the reason why they were meeting. In fact, this meeting was starting to look exactly like what Mother had complained about when Father had said he was inviting these doctors together: a clandestine gathering to denounce the doings of the Iranian government. Father did not want this, but he had noticed recently that almost every chat in private was turning into a heated discussion on what was being felt about the government but that could not be said in public.

Father really had other things to talk about.

My friends, you are here, and it is of great happiness to me .Thank you a lot for coming .I wanted to ask you some other things .I am like you .I am working in this hospital every day .I am not happy with the way it is being run  ؟Do you agree with me »

Varieties of al-batti and hatman were said by the three doctors. They started giving their own feedback and impressions, but spoke over each other, particularly Dr Nuri and Dr Shah, who both had a lot to say but no interest in giving the other a chance to speak. When Dr Nuri took a break to look at messages on her phone and Dr Shah asked Mother to get him some water, Dr Ahmedi made the first coherent suggestion.

It is the hospital beds that need to be replaced

Dr Nuri put her phone back in her purse and said « .Man baa shomaa movafeqam » She went on to explain, « .The woman are delivering babies in beds stained with blood .It is disgusting »

Dr Shah said « .There is also not enough space for the amount of patients we have »

Dr Ahmedi added « .Correct .There are more and more patients nowadays .We need to have ten beds in a room, not six »

Dr Shah bounced back « .But the rooms are small ؟How can we make space for more beds if the rooms are not big enough »

« .We will certainly not have funding to ask for any new construction inside the hospital » Father said. That was the old question which kept coming to his mind in the last few months: how would they get the funding for any of this?

Dr Nuri opined « .The hospital has plenty of rooms .It is a matter of how we use them .I have seen beds from Japan .They are smaller and more comfortable .We can fit more of them into a room »

« ؟But how will we afford beds from Japan »

« .The Japanese are generous .It is easy to apply for funding from their government »

Father was relieved Dr Nuri had indirectly answered the money question. They could try to get funding from other Asian countries that might want to help Iranians, like Japan or China, Russia or India. He knew nothing about the process of doing that, and all of the doctors he had invited were in their fifties. He doubted any of them had been through a grant-writing process at all. Perhaps he could try to befriend some of the younger doctors. There was also that nurse he almost saw as one of his own children, though he was not sure if she had that know-how.

Father imagined for a moment that Son were still living in Tehran, and what he could have done to help.

«  ؟Do you think we should ask for a new X-ray machine »

This question was from Dr Shah, directed to Father. He answered, « .I think we can .Or I will say, we can consider asking .We have to remember that today we are only talking and getting ideas, and later when we meet we will know what to say .That is what I would like to see .I want to see ideas »

All of the doctors were staring at him, unsure of how to respond to such declarations.

Father clarified, « .Today we will say everything that comes to our heads .We will write a list » He motioned for Mother to bring one of his notebooks. « .I will read over the list and consider everything .We will think about the costs, and what is possible or appropriate .Then we will pitch the hospital, then try to find funding »

Suddenly, curiously, Dr Nuri smiled widely. « I agree » she said. A radiance was beaming from her face, under her headscarf. It was a sort of affirmation that Father felt he rarely got from his colleagues whenever he tried to make suggestions or share his own ideas. Normally, the doctors went about speaking as if Father was not there. the last time Father attempted one of these interjections in the hospital, it seemed no one had listened, going back to their rounds without paying his thoughts any attention, causing him to fall back into his usual silence.

Dr Nuri observed the confusion on Father’s face, and she remarked, « .It is rare for you to express your opinions like this »

Mother chirped in, « .When my husband is home, he sits and looks at his phone .He doesn’t even talk to me .This is even when I am talking at him »

Father had his reasons. It was really because Mother was complaining most of the time, about this relative or that neighbour, and Father had no opinions on the topic, or any reason to give any feedback.

Father explained, « .I want to see our hospital change .I have worked there for decades .Money is tight, and corruption is high, and we do what little we can .Other doctors say they will work on it, too many people promise improvements, but nothing gets done for years .I in fact want to do something »

Dr Ahmedi said, « .That is good and very respectable »

Dr Shah nodded along in politeness. Then his eyebrows furrowed, and he winced.

« .Actually, what you are saying is not true .I have noticed there is a lot to change .I think all of us have .But we have children to feed and salaries to live off on .No one has that the time to make a change .We are trying to survive, and that makes life busy »

It would have been easy to get agitated by his words. Dr Shah was implying that Father was of a class that allowed him the privilege of thinking about the world’s problems where he had no problems of his own, when in reality he had a mother of poor health, and a somewhat estranged son, and plenty of relatives who needed the earnings he had to divide his salary for. He wanted to make an effort because he was passionate and proud of his hospital, despite the amount of work it had demanded of him for decades, often at the cost of his relationship with his family.

Another question was coming to his mind. He pointed to the notebook in his hand with his pen and asked, «  ؟You three, tell me: what else have you seen that demands change »

The doctors shared, one by one:

« … Well, we could certainly improve the conditions of the toilets »

« … We need new bedsheets and medical aprons »

« … I don’t like the brand of disposable thermometer we use .We can try to buy cheaper and from the Chinese »

« … The nurses are impossible to work with !We need to get them fired »

« … Women who work these types of jobs aren’t your slaves »

« .I said they worked badly .I didn’t say they were my slaves »

Father tried to annotate whatever he could and to whatever extent his wrinkled hands would let him. Within just ten minutes, there was enough to cover two full notebook pages. Some of the ideas would probably nowhere, but some of the demands were quite reasonable and easy to petition from the administration. And as they chattered, everyone was learning to get along. Dr Nuri and Dr Shah were starting to joke with each other. Dr Ahmedi’s smile relaxed the room.

Father excused himself for a bathroom break, closed the door, and looked in the mirror. He had to take a break to share a smile to himself that he didn’t want anyone else to see.

He was right to want to include the opinions of others rather than lead everything by himself. He didn’t want to just be paying lip service to an idea like Dr Safed; if he kept getting these doctors excited, and they started to get the doctors in their own social circles excited as well, then this could lead to more people demanding change. In time, they could form a group that would meet often and propose ideas that could become tangible.

It was all going so well. Father stared at himself in the mirror and never broke from his smile.

He was finally having the hope that something he was investing in could actually result in change.

Pakistan Markets Hindu, Christian Women as ‘Concubines’: U.S. Official Says

US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Samuel D. Brownback claimed that Pakistan is marketing Hindu and Christian women as “concubines” and “forced brides” to China.

Talking to reports last week, the top US diplomat for religious freedom said that one of the sources of “forced brides” for the Chinese men is “religious minorities, Christian and Hindu women, being marketed as concubines and as forced as brides into China”.

That was happening “because there’s not effective support and there’s discrimination against religious minorities that make them more vulnerable,” he said.

He mentioned this as one of the reasons for designating Pakistan as a country of particular concern (CPC) under the International Religious Freedom Act.

Because of the one-child policy imposed by China for decades, there is an acute shortage of women given the cultural preference for boys leading to Chinese men importing women from other countries as brides, mistresses and laborers.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom had recommended placing India also on the CPC list, citing among other issues the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo rejected the suggestion when he announced the designations Dec. 7.

Brownback, however, said that Washington was watching the Indian situation closely and “these issues have been raised in private discussions at the government, high government level, and they will continue to get raised.”

The CAA expedites citizenship for Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and Sikhs fleeing religious persecution in neighboring Islamic or Muslim majority countries but does not prevent Muslims from getting citizenship after following the usual procedures.

The U.S. has a legal provision similar to the CAA which is known as the Specter Amendment that is tucked into the budget bill giving asylum to some non-Muslim minorities from Iran, while pointedly excluding Muslim.

Asked by a Pakistani reporter if there was a double standard in Pompeo giving Pakistan the CPC designation and not India, Brownback said that while in Pakistan, a lot of the actions against minorities are taken by the government, that was not the case in India.

“Pakistan has half of the world’s people that are locked up for apostasy or blasphemy,” he said.

He said that in India, some of the actions like the CAA are taken by the government but there are others like “much of its communal violence” and then when they take place, “we try to determine whether or not there has been an effective police enforcement, judicial action after communal violence takes place.”

“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have problems with the statute (CAA),” he said. “The violence is a problem. We will continue to raise those issues. Those are some of the basis as to why Pakistan continues to be on the CPC list and India is not,” he said.

“These are issues that people spend a great deal of time reviewing and we review extensively the situation in Pakistan, in both countries,” added Brownback, whose formal title is Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom.

Answering an American reporter’s question as to why Pompeo did not follow the USCIRF recommendation to designate India as a CPC, Brownback said, “I can’t go into the decision-making process that the Secretary went through.”

But, he said, Pompeo is “well aware of a lot of the communal violence that is happening in India as well as aware of the statutes that have been enacted and some of the issues associated with the (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi government and, as I said, he has raised at the highest level, but just decided at this point in time not to place them on a CPC or a special watch list.”

Brownback said that there were also “several recommendations made by the commission that the secretary did not follow, and this was one of them.”

Pompeo did not follow the recommendations to designate Russia and Vietnam as CPCs. In addition to Pakistan, Pompeo put China, Myanmar, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on the CPC list.