US rights body chief tells India to ‘stop violence against religious communities’
NEW DELHI — The Chairperson of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has expressed concern over recent anti-Muslim violence in Tripura urging the Union government to “stop violence against religious communities”.
Reacting to a BBC report on the violence, Nadine Maenza, the chairperson of the commission, said on Monday that they are concerned about ongoing violence in Tripura against Muslims, “which some regard as retaliation for attacks against #Hindus in #Bangladesh last month. The Indian government must stop violence against religious communities.”
USCIRF Chair @nadinemaenza: “USCIRF is concerned about ongoing violence in #Tripura against #Muslims, which some regard as retaliation for attacks against #Hindus in #Bangladesh last month. The Indian government must stop violence against religious communities.” https://t.co/avLLcX6iNW
— USCIRF (@USCIRF) November 1, 2021
For more than a week Tripura is witnessing a series of ant-Muslim violence by Hindu nationalists. According to information relayed by local activists and residents, there have been at least 27 confirmed incidents of Hindutva mobs attacking mosques, houses and individuals in Muslim areas. These include 16 incidents where mosques were vandalised and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) flags were forcibly hoisted on them, three of which were set on fire.
The attacks on Muslisms in Tripura is said to be in retaliation to the violence in Bangladesh where Hindu temples and shrines were targeted by Muslims following allegations of desecration of the Holy Quran on October 13.
Menza’s statement was shared from USCIRF official handle which fetched more than 1,000 retweets and likes. Similar concern was expressed by commission member Anurima Bhargava who said: “USCIRF is particularly alarmed about reports from #Tripura of mobs desecrating mosques & torching properties of #Muslims. The Indian govt must bring those responsible for instigating & engaging in religious violence to justice & must prevent further attacks.”
USCIRF is an independent body of the US federal government that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief globally.
Moreover, on Tuesday, Congressman Andy Levin also expressed his “deep concern” over Tripura violence as he wrote on Twitter: “Provocative & brutal incitement by state and non-state actors against religious minorities must be condemned in the strongest terms.”
He also pointed finger at Tripura Police for denying “the existence of these crimes.”
I’m deeply concerned by news of continued violence between Hindus & Muslims in the Tripura state of India & in Bangladesh. Provocative & brutal incitement by state and non-state actors against religious minorities must be condemned in the strongest terms.https://t.co/SY4D2Pg8Sh
— Rep. Andy Levin (@RepAndyLevin) November 1, 2021
“The govts of India & Bangladesh must protect religious minorities,” urged Levin.
The Indian government often responds to comments from outside with disdain but such voices equally responds to attacks on religious freedom and human rights violations in other countries.
In response to the recent violence against Hindus in Bangladesh, the commission acknowledged the measures taken by the Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh against those responsible for violence.