US Religious Freedom Panel Flags India as 'Country of Particular Concern', Suggests Blacklisting It

© AP Photo / MANISH SWARUPIndian Muslim (File)
Indian Muslim (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 26.04.2022
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) documents alleged abuses of religious freedoms, putting forward recommendations on the inclusion of countries in a blacklist. The final decision on the matter, however, is made by the State Department.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended adding India to the religious freedom blacklist over alleged abuses for the third continuous year.
"During the year, the Indian government escalated its promotion and enforcement of policies — including those promoting a Hindu-nationalist agenda — that negatively affect Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and other religious minorities", the USCIRF said in its latest report released on Monday. "The government continued to systemise its ideological vision of a Hindu state at both the national and state levels through the use of both existing and new laws and structural changes hostile to the country's religious minorities".
The other 14 countries flagged by the USCIRF for religious freedom concerns are Afghanistan, Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
The USCIRF is claimed to be an independent, bipartisan US government agency that monitors the universal right of freedom of religion and makes policy recommendations.
In 2020, the panel flagged its concern and noted a "sharp downward turn" in religious freedom in India in 2019, listing it as a "country of particular concern" in its report for the first time since 2004.
Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar that year described the Commission (USCIRF) as an "Organisation of Particular Concern" and questioned the locus standi of the USCIRF.
Earlier this month, US President Joe Biden held a virtual meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The two leaders are set to meet in Tokyo next month as part of a summit for the leaders of the Asia-Pacific “Quad” security dialogue, which also includes Japan and Australia.
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