The latest annual report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom has rankled a few Indian-Americans. They alleged that it is biased against India.
The report recommended to the Biden Administration with regard to the status of religious freedom has designated India, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and 11 other nations as “countries of particular concern”.
India is among the few countries to be called a country of particular concern. The other countries are Afghanistan, Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.
The recommendations, though, are not binding on the US government.
The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended to the US State Department, for the third year in a row, to designate India as a “Country of Particular Concern”.
“The USCIRF’s report on India is biased through selection and omissions fuelled by anti-India campaigns in the United States,” alleged Khanderao Kand from the Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS), US-based policy research and awareness institution, PTI reports.
Instead of recognizing that India’s Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is an act that gives citizenship to refugees who were religiously persecuted from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, it was wrongly projected as an act to take away citizenship, he said.
About India particularly, the report states, “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,” according to a PTI report.
Also, the report failed to mention that the National Register of Citizenship (NRC), which is common in the most democratic countries, is being implemented as per the ruling of India’s court, Kand stated.
President of the Council for Strategic Affairs, Dr. Adityan, observed a pattern of bias and said, “USCIRF in its annual ritual of the report shows its compulsive anti-India bias! USCIRF report has become a political tool of US politics devoid of any objectivity! The report displays callous ignorance about Indian laws, constitution and ground realities!” PTI reported.
Chandru Acharya, president, of South Asian American Voices for Impact said, “the report provides a one-sided and biased narrative about religious freedom in India with exaggerated claims that are designed to fuel an eco-system of fear and hate.”
“The report lacks authenticity and attempts to brand the vast majority of peace-loving and pluralistic Hindus as extremists,” he added, as per the PTI report.