US committee designates India among ‘County of Particular Concern’
- The United States Commission on Internation Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended 15 countries
- The committee says that these countries are performing poorly on the front of religious freedome
- India has rejected the report and denies the claims
A quasi-judicial panel established by the US Congress recommended to the Biden administration on Monday that India, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and 11 other countries be designated as "Countries of Particular Concern" in the context of religious freedom.
This is the third time in a row that the same body has given such a recommendation and for the past two years, the US administration has chosen to ignore it.
India has already stated that the American body in charge of international religious freedom has decided to be driven only by its own biases in an area over which it has no purview. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) makes recommendations to the US government, but they are not legally binding.
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Last year, the USCIRF made a similar suggestion to the US government, which the Biden administration rejected. India had also repudiated the reports in the past.
In the past, the Ministry of External Affairs has stated, "Our principled position remains that we see no locus standi for a foreign entity to pronounce on the state of our citizens' constitutionally guaranteed rights."
The MEA added, "We have a robust public discourse in India, and constitution-mandated institutions that guarantee protection of religious freedom and the rule of law."
However, the USCIRF has remarked, “In 2021, religious freedom conditions in India significantly worsened. 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.”
India has a history of rejecting USCIRF's standpoint. In fact, it has even refused visas to members of the USCIRF for more than a decade.