As reported by Reuters India has denied permission to travel to the members of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). The panel had asked for permission to visit India to review religious freedom in the country.
USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission dedicated to defending the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad. USCIRF reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the Congressional leadership of both political parties.
Indian government denied permission to them saying such foreign agencies has no standing to assess the constitutional rights of citizens.
The commission had applied for permission in April.
According to Reuters Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that the government firmly repudiated the surveys of the commission and labeled them as biased and prejudiced.
In its annual report of 2020 released in April, it criticized the Indian Government and said, “In 2019, religious freedom conditions in India experienced a drastic turn downward, with religious minorities under increasing assault. Following the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) re-election in May, the national government used its strengthened parliamentary majority to institute national-level policies violating religious freedom across India, especially for Muslims.”
Check out the video by USCIRF vice-chairman Nadine Maenza talking about the annual report on India here:
“The national government allowed violence against minorities and their houses of worship to continue with impunity, and also engaged in and tolerated hate speech and incitement to violence”, it quoted.
The report also criticized the government’s cow slaughter laws, religious freedom in J&K.
After a release of this report two out of three individuals, who wrote independent points in the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) India report have disagreed with the body’s assessment of India, saying that it cannot be compared with countries such as China or North Korea when it comes to violating religious freedom.
Gary L Bauer and Tenzin Dorjee have said that they have dissented from the decision made by fellow commissioners to designate India as a ‘country of particular concern.’