WASHINGTON – The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy organisation dedicated to maintaining India’s constitutional values of pluralism and democracy has commended the US State Department for its 2021 International Religious Freedom Report. The report carried a detailed account of massive violation of religious freedom and persecution of 280 million religious minorities in India.
“The report documents how religious freedom and rights of religious minorities are under threat around the world. In India, the world’s largest democracy and home to great diversity of faiths, we have seen a rise in attacks on people and places of worship,” Secretary Blinken said while delivering the remarks.
In addition to covering the issues of harsh anti-conversion laws, cow vigilantism and mob lynchings, anti-Muslim attacks in the state of Tripura, detention of non-Hindus for imagined offenses, and vandalisation of mosques, the report also mentioned several Hindu extremist leaders by name. They include hate speaker Yati Narasinghanand, Hindu Mahasabha general secretary Sadhvi Annapurna, World Hindu Congress leader Swami Paramatmananda, and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The IAMC also welcomed the statement by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for naming India alongside China, Myanmar, Nigeria, Eritrea, Afghanistan, and others for threatening the rights of religious minorities during the release of the report.
It further commended Rashad Hussain, the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom for calling out the Indian government officials, who he said are “ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship”.
“We welcome the US State Department’s thorough coverage of the dangerous consequences of Hindu extremism in the 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom,” said Syed Ali, President of the IAMC. “It is important that the Biden Administration now formally recognises Hindutva as a major threat to Indian democracy.”
“We applaud Secretary Blinken and Ambassador Hussain for breaking the silence and publicly expressing concern over India’s ongoing persecution of religious minorities,” said Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of the IAMC. “This is a major step in the right direction which allows us to begin the long-overdue conversation about what the United States must now do to ensure the protection of India’s 280 million minorities.”
The advocacy organisation called on the US Department of State and Secretary Blinken to designate India a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) and apply sanctions for violation of religious freedom and state-sponsored persecution of Muslim and Christian minorities.