India Rejects USCIRF Report Accusing BJP of Discriminatory Policies

India rejects a US Commission on International Religious Freedom report accusing the government of reinforcing discriminatory nationalist policies. The report alleged communal violence and hateful rhetoric against religious minorities, which the Indian government dismissed as biased and politically motivated.

Dil Bar Irshad
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India Rejects USCIRFReportAccusing BJP of Discriminatory Policies

India Rejects USCIRFReportAccusing BJP of Discriminatory Policies

On May 2, 2024, India strongly rejected a report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of reinforcing discriminatory nationalist policies. The Indian government dismissed the report, calling the USCIRF a "biased organisation with a political agenda."

Why this matters: The rejection of the USCIRF report highlights the growing concerns over religious freedom and minority rights in India, which can have far-reaching implications for the country's democratic fabric and international relations. The Indian government's response to these concerns will be closely watched, as it may impact the country's reputation as a secular democracy and its relationships with other nations.

The USCIRFreportalleged that the Indian government failed to address communal violence disproportionately affecting Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, Jews, and Adivasis (indigenous peoples) in 2023. It claimed the government perpetuated hateful rhetoric and cited incidents such as the Manipur and Haryana violence, including the detention of Kashmiri leaders following the abrogation of Article 370.

Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson for India's Ministry of External Affairs, criticized the report, stating, "The USCIRF is known as a biased organisation with a political agenda. They continue to publish their propaganda on India masquerading as part of an annual report." Jaiswal emphasized that the USCIRF's attempts to interfere in India's internal affairs and electoral processes would not succeed.

India reiterated its position onreligious freedom, stating that the USCIRF's report failed to understand the country's diverse and pluralistic democratic ethos. "We really have no expectation that USCIRF will even seek to understand India's diverse, pluralistic and democratic ethos,"Jaiswal added. The government maintained that it does not expect the USCIRF to objectively assess India's religious environment.

The USCIRF report comes amid rising tensions in India, with communal violence reported in several parts of the country on Hanuman Jayanti. Over 50 people have been arrested in connection with the violence, and 18 FIRs have been registered across various police stations. The report also highlighted the suspension of the FCRA license of the Centre for Policy Research, an NGO dedicated to reporting on social issues and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities.

India's rejection of the USCIRF report is not without precedent. The Indian government has consistently maintained that the country's democratic principles and commitment to religious freedom are robust and that external interference in its internal matters is unwarranted. However, the allegations raised by the USCIRF report and the ongoing communal tensions in India have drawn international attention and raised concerns about the state of religious minorities in the country.

As India confronts these challenges, the government's response to the concerns raised by the USCIRF and the international community remains to be seen. Balancing the need to uphold India's sovereignty while addressing the grievances of religious minorities will be a delicate task. The world will closely watch as India traverses this complex terrain and works to ensure that its democratic ideals are upheld for all citizens, regardless of their religious affiliations.

Key Takeaways

  • India rejects USCIRF report on religious freedom, calling it "biased" and "politically motivated".
  • Report alleges Indian government failed to address communal violence against minorities.
  • India claims USCIRF has a "political agenda" and doesn't understand its "pluralistic democratic ethos".
  • Communal violence and tensions rise in India, with 50+ arrests and 18 FIRs filed.
  • India's response to USCIRF report and minority concerns will impact its international reputation and relations.