World Religious Leaders Urge Sanctions Against Indian Officials for Persecution of Minorities

Mazar vandalised in Delhi communal riots in 2020. — File photo

Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC — A union of more than 30 religious, secular, academic and political leaders of diverse faiths and backgrounds from around the world have issued a joint resolution, strongly urging the US State Department to designate India as a Country of Particular Concern, and to sanction officials promoting religious discrimination and persecution of non-Hindu minorities in India.

The resolution was coordinated by the Indian American Muslim Council, an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s pluralist and tolerant ethos. The 11-point joint resolution, issued during the International Religious Freedom Summit, listed specific instances and evidences of government-backed harassment, oppression, and intimidation of Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others, who are now facing a growing threat from the right-wing Hindu nationalist movement.

Leading this movement is the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the right-wing Hindu nationalist group that claims it has more than 6 million direct or affiliate members, and is the ideological mothership of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

One of the points in the resolution details how the founders of the RSS supported the Holocaust. It states:

“Most frightening of all, the BJP is an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which adheres to the Hindutva-ideology of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and MS Golwalkar, who were open-admirers of Hitler and Mussolini, of Nazism and Fascism, and who wrote: ‘To keep up the purity of its race and culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging of the country of the Semitic races— the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here … a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.’”

They criticised the US government for its silence on the ongoing persecution of religious minorities in India. Fearing losing India as a trusted ally and bulwark against China in South Asia, the Biden administration is following the policies of previous US administrations in avoiding criticism of the Indian government for its open promotion of religious discrimination.

“We find it hypocritical that the US champions civil rights and human rights causes around the world and criticizes other countries for violations of those rights, but not India,” said Rasheed Ahmed, the Executive Director of the Indian American Muslim Council. “Our hope is that by pointing out the ongoing, open persecution of non-Hindus in India that the President and the State Department will take appropriate action.”

Following is the full text of the resolution unanimously passed on the occasion:


Washington, D.C., July 15, 2021

Calling on the United States Department of State

To Designate India as a Country of Particular Concern

For Systematic, Egregious Violations of Religious Freedoms

WHEREAS, the Indian government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is promoting Hindu nationalist policies that are resulting in systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedoms, and,

WHEREAS, mobs sympathetic to Hindu nationalism operate with impunity, persecuting and injuring Muslims, attacking mosques, and destroy homes and businesses in majority-Muslim neighborhoods, and,

WHEREAS, in February 2020, the worst anti-Muslim Hindu violence killed more than 50 and injured more than 200 mostly Muslims, and,

WHEREAS, disinformation and intolerant content have emboldened intimidation, harassment and mob violence against Dalits, Muslims, Christians, Adivasis and other religious communities, and,

WHEREAS, the government of India has fostered and even supported a growing climate of hostility and violence against religious minorities, human rights advocates and others speaking out against such violations, and,

WHEREAS, government officials and nonstate actors continue to use social media and other forms of mass communication to harass and spread hatred and disinformation against minority communities, and primarily Muslims, and,

WHEREAS, despite India’s constitutional protections for religious freedom, approximately one-third of India’s 28 states limit or prohibit religious conversion (primarily interfaith marriages) to protect the dominant religion from perceived threats from religious minorities, and,

WHEREAS, these anti-conversion laws are too often the basis for false accusations of forced conversion, harassment and violence against non-Hindus, including inciting mobs to attack Christians, destroy churches and disrupt non-Hindu religious worship services, and,

WHEREAS, members of civil society, including human rights advocates and the news media reporting on religious freedom violations, faced intimidation and harassment, and often physical attacks, and,

WHEREAS, the passage in 2020 of the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA) – a fast-track to citizenship for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan residing in India – led to nationwide protests against the CAA and spurred state and non-state violence, largely targeting Muslims, and,

WHEREAS, the government of India is openly attempting through harassment and other means, often by physical force, to limit press freedom in India because the news media is regularly covering news of its violations of human rights, civil rights and its persecution and harassment of non-Hindu religious practices, and,

WHEREAS, most frightening of  all, the BJP is an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which adheres to the Hindutva-ideology of Vinayak Damodar Savarkar and MS Golwalkar, who  were open-admirers of Hitler and Mussolini, of Nazism and Fascism, and who wrote:  “To keep up the purity of its race and culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging of the country of the Semitic races— the Jews. Race pride at its highest has been manifested here … a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by.”

NOW, THEREFORE, a union of concerned religious, secular and political leaders support this Joint Resolution strongly urging the U.S. Department of State to declare India a Country of Particular Concern under the guidelines of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and impose targeted sanctions on individuals and entities responsible for severe violations of religious freedom.

RESOLVED this 15th day of July, 2021


1.    Action Alliance to Redress 1219

2.    Ambedkar International Center

3.    American Muslim Institution

4.    Association of Indian Muslims of America

5.    Cambodian Development Foundation

6.    Center for Pluralism

7.    Church of Scientology National Affairs Office

8.    Coalition Against Fascism in India

9.    Coalition of Seattle Indian Americans

10. Council on American Islamic Relations

11. Dalit Solidarity Forum

12. Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America

13. For the Martyrs

14. Hindus for Human Rights

15. The Humanism Project, Australia

16. India Civil Watch International

17. Indian American Muslim Council

18. Indo-US Democracy Foundation

19. Dr. Peter McLewin, Ingleside International

20. International Christian Concern

21. International Society for Peace and Justice

22. International Solidarity for Academic Freedom in India (InSAF India)

23. Irpin Bible Church, Ukraine

24. Justice for All

25. Soraya Deen, Muslim Women Speakers

26. New York State Council of Churches

27. Norcross Law Firm

28. Poetic Justice Foundation

29. Progressive India Collective

30. Scott Morgan, Red Eagle Enterprises

31. Scottish Indians for Justice, Scotland

32. Students Against Hindutva Ideology

33. Sunshine Ministries

34. “World of Life” Center of Christian Churches of Ukraine


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