A U.S. government panel has once again criticized India for its record on religious freedom, stating that the country is moving in a troubling direction.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recently released its annual report, which identifies countries that violate religious freedom. In the report, India was placed in the “Tier 2” category, which means that the country is considered to be a “country of particular concern” with regard to religious freedom.
The USCIRF report stated that India’s religious minorities continue to face discrimination and violence, and that the government has not done enough to address these issues. The report also criticized the Indian government for enacting laws that discriminate against Muslims, such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The CAA, which was passed in December 2019, grants Indian citizenship to non-Muslim refugees from neighboring countries, such as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Critics argue that the law is discriminatory and violates the secular nature of the Indian constitution.
The NRC is a proposed nationwide register of citizens that would require people to prove their citizenship through documentary evidence. Critics argue that the NRC would be particularly harmful to Muslims, as many of them do not have the necessary documentation to prove their citizenship.
India has repeatedly rejected allegations of religious discrimination and violence, stating that it is committed to protecting the rights of all its citizens. The Indian government has also accused the USCIRF of being biased and interfering in India’s internal affairs.
This is not the first time that the USCIRF has criticized India for its record on religious freedom. The commission has been monitoring India’s religious freedom situation for many years, and has consistently expressed concern about the treatment of religious minorities in the country.
The USCIRF report is likely to worsen relations between India and the United States, which have already been strained in recent years. The two countries have been at odds over a number of issues, including trade, defense, and human rights.
In response to the USCIRF report, Indian officials have once again rejected allegations of religious discrimination and violence. They have also accused the USCIRF of being biased and unfair in its assessment of India’s religious freedom situation.
Overall, the USCIRF report highlights the continuing challenges that India faces in ensuring religious freedom for all its citizens. While the Indian government has made some efforts to address these issues, much more needs to be done to protect the rights of religious minorities in the country. It remains to be seen how India will respond to the latest criticisms from the USCIRF, and whether the two countries can find a way to improve their relations despite their differences.