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For Second Year, US Religious Freedom Body Sees India as ‘Country of Particular Concern’

On April 21, 2021, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a bipartisan commission created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, published its 2021 Annual Report with recommendations to the US State Department regarding the status of international religious freedom around the world. In the report USCIRF recommended that the US State Department should designate 14 countries a “countries of particular concern (CPCs)” as “their governments engage in or tolerate systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations.”

In the report USCIRF recommended that 14 countries be designated as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC), notably including Nigeria, India, China, and Iran, among others.

USCIRF had also recommended that India be in the list of CPCs last year, but the state department did not accept the recommendation. USCIRF’s 2021 report on India noted that religious freedom conditions in India “continued their negative trajectory”. “The government, led by the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), promoted Hindu nationalist policies resulting in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom,” particularly noting the passage of the “religiously discriminatory” Citizenship Amendment Act. The report also indicated that there was seeming police complicity in the Delhi riots.

“At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, disinformation and hateful rhetoric – including from government officials – often targeted religious minorities, continuing familiar patterns,” it said.

Further, the report alleged that “government action including the acquittal of all individuals accused of demolishing the Babri Masjid mosque – as well as government inaction to address religious violence contributed to a culture of impunity for those promulgating hate and violence toward religious minorities”.

Read the entire report here

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