US Hindu groups raising funds to abet persecution in India: FIACONA
WASHINGTON D.C. – The US failure to call out religious persecution in India will hurt America’s business and security interests in South Asia, a leading Indian American Christian group said this week. The US Congress must also pass a law so that perpetrators of such persecution in India can be sued in US courts, it added.
“The US Congress [must] pass a law that would allow the victims of religious violence to sue the perpetrators, be it a non-state actor or a government official, in the courts under the US jurisdiction for both criminal and civil negligence,” the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) said in a report released here this week.
The US must designate India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), America’s formal name for persecuting nations, it said. The US Departments of State and Treasury must also “impose travel sanctions” under “the Global Magnitsky Act” on those involved in “leading, aiding or abetting terror campaigns against Christians, other religious minorities, women, Dalits, farmers, indigenous people, and other affected groups,” it said.
“Just as America’s failure to call out persecutions in China and Pakistan enabled persecution in those countries, the US turning, a blind eye to India’s slide into a religious fundamentalist state [will] directly threaten America’s national security interest,” the report said.
“America seems to be ignoring India’s epic slide into a radical religious state,” FIACONA Chairman John Prabhudoss wrote in the foreword to the group’s second annual report. “Successive American administrations are again making a wrong choice in India.”
The report flagged “several Hindutva militant extremist organisations” operating “in plain sight” in the US as cultural and educational groups, with newer ones registered every month. “[Hindu] extremist sleeper cells operate in the United States as Hindu religious, cultural, and business associations,” some of them even “affiliated with the Democratic or Republican parties,” promoting “an extremist ideology,” the FIACONA report said.
These organizations raised funds “to aid a religious terror agenda” in India, and “must be flagged prominently in public debates in the US and… brought to the attention of the Justice Department and local law enforcement officials.”
The report named the Hindu Heritage Foundation which raised funds in Frisco, Texas, in November to demolish churches in India, and the Ekal Vidyalaya which raised funds in New Jersey to spread Hindu supremacist ideology in schools affiliated with the RSS.
These organisations were “not just creating trouble” but were “becoming an American problem… creating a radical network under the radar in calm and peaceful neighbourhoods in America,” the report said.
The report recorded 1,198 cases of violence against Christians in India last year, “planned and orchestrated” by Hindutva groups as “a part of a larger design to create a Hindus-only state, to the exclusion of the people of Abrahamic faiths.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) fabricated propaganda narrative of a supposed Christian “forced conversion” wave had contributed to a 157% increase in the violence against Christians, the report said. The police falsely accused Christians of forced conversions to invade and destroy their homes, arrest them, and saddle them with crippling legal costs on charges thrown out by courts over 300 times. Such cases have cost Indian Christians $100 million, it added.
Attacks on Muslims on the false allegations of ‘Love Jihad’ had caused damage in terms of legal fees, property damage, and loss of human life, the report said.
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