Senator Wants US to Engage With India on Religious Discrimination


US must speak if any country infringes on religious freedom, says Senator Tammy Baldwin

Team Clarion

WASHINGTON — A resolution introduced in the US Senate last week, urges the Biden administration to engage with India to “reverse” its policies that allegedly discriminate on the basis of religion and push for an end to violence against peaceful protesters in the country.

“Religious freedom is a fundamental human right, and when any country infringes on it, the United States must stand up and speak out,” Senator Tammy Baldwin said in a statement after introducing the resolution.

“I am calling on the United States to continue pushing the government of India to reverse course on the systematic religious and political persecution that is endangering and disenfranchising innocent civilians,” he said.

India has previously trashed as “motivated” and “biased” reports by the US State Department on religious freedom that criticised the country for alleged attacks on minorities.

Senator Baldwin’s resolution urges the government to engage with the Indian government to end the persecution of, and violence against, religious minorities and human rights defenders in India, and work to reverse government policies that discriminate against Muslims and Christians on the basis of faith.

The resolution also demanded immediate release of unjustly detained human rights defenders, journalists, and other critics, and the establishment of accountability for the violent treatment of protesters against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). It also calls for an end to demolition of homes, businesses, and places of worship belonging to Muslims and Christians.

Welcoming the resolution, Rasheed Ahmed, Executive Director of the Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), said rising social conflict and democratic backslide in India will weaken and not strengthen India’s relevance as a global bulwark against anti-democratic forces.

Masood Akhtar, a Wisconsin entrepreneur, and activist, added: “As a proud Indian-born American, I strongly believe in India’s Constitution. If faithfully followed, it would ensure that India remains the world’s largest secular democracy and a role model for other countries.”

IAMC President Mohammed Jawad said, “We commend Senator Tammy Baldwin for her leadership and dedication to upholding the principles of religious freedom, democracy, and human rights.”

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