The US chapter of Indian National Overseas Congress (INOC) has sought action against Hindutva groups that raise funds in the United States, days after an independent bipartisan American body asked the Trump administration to ban such groups in the country. “It is unfortunate that the last two years have witnessed a steady deterioration of religious freedom and human rights in India especially that of the minorities and the current administration cannot shirk their responsibility in that regard,” George Abraham, chairman of the Indian National Overseas Congress, USA, said in a statement.
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In its latest report, US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said that the religious minority communities and Dalits face discrimination and persecution in India where hate crimes, social boycotts and forced conversion have escalated dramatically since 2014.
The report, according to INOC, urged India to immediately lift sanctions against NGOs that are working for the welfare of the minorities in India. It also pointed out that FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) is increasingly being used as a tool to shut down foreign-funded minority NGOs.
“INOC, USA urges the growing Indian community in the US to refrain from funding these organisations that promote hatred and bigotry against the minorities in India,” it said.
“More than ever, as minorities in the US, it is incumbent upon us to uphold the democratic and pluralistic values that are a hallmark of this country and it is in our own ‘vested interests’ to see that those values preserved and protected,” it said.
On the other hand, the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) said the report was outsourced exclusively to British activist Iqtidar Karamat Cheema, raising serious questions about the Commission’s credibility and transparency.
“USCIRF has failed to justify its intentions of this report on India prima facie based on the sources cited and findings presented,” said Samir Kalra, HAF senior director.
“Though previous special reports published by USCIRF on religious extremism within Pakistan’s textbooks have been deemed insightful by HAF leaders, this recent report does not meet the standard of those reports and in the context of India’s pluralistic democracy, the report’s author simply cites what have become known as ‘alternative facts’,” he said.