17:19 GMT05 August 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): An independent bipartisan commission on international religious freedom suggested to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in April to downgrade India’s religious freedom rating. Pompeo did not act on it. He did not even make any reference to India while releasing the latest report on international religious freedom on Wednesday.

    The annual International Religious Freedom Report submitted to the US Congress on Wednesday (10 June) has listed several alleged violations of religious freedom in India.

    The country report on India referred to the stripping of Jammu and Kashmir's special status, cow vigilantism, Citizenship Act, anti-conversion laws, and several other incidents took place in 2019.

    New Delhi. however, has not reacted officially to the contents of the report so far.

    “Mob attacks by violent Hindu groups against minority communities, including Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumors that victims had traded or killed cows for beef. Authorities often failed to prosecute perpetrators of such 'cow vigilantism', which included killings, mob violence, and intimidation", reads the report.

    In July 2019, the apex court of India served notices to the federal and state governments, and National Human Rights Commission enforcing the court’s guidelines to prevent incidents of mob lynching. In July 2018, the Supreme Court issued certain guidelines for preventive, remedial, and punitive measures to deal with the increasing incidents of lynching in the country.

    The Religious Freedom Report referred to the judgement and held that “by year’s end, parliament had not acted on a July 2018 Supreme Court order that it enact a federal law to outlaw mob violence. The court also ordered all state governments to designate a senior police officer in every district to prevent mob violence and ensure that the police act promptly in such cases".

    Meanwhile, in an unrelated issue, India’s External Affairs Minister Jaishankar Subrahmanyam told ruling Bharatiya Janata Party MP Nishikant Dubey that “USCIRF has been known to make prejudiced, inaccurate, and misleading observations regarding the state of religious freedom in India. We do not take cognisance of these pronouncements and have repudiated such attempts to misrepresent information related to India".

    Jaishankar’s views were conveyed to Dubey, who raised the observations made by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom in Parliament in December 2019.

    An Indian expert on American affairs, Harinder Sekhon, has told Sputnik that Indian democracy is still alive and active and it is an Indian internal matter and no US body should be commenting on it, as New Delhi does not comment on racial issues in America.

    “I don’t think the US administration is soft-pedalling or not coming very harshly on India. It wants to carry on building relations with India because of the other challenges like the global pandemic. Congress is duty-bound. But they should set their own house in order, as race is a major issue within the United States. I don’t say what is happening in India is perfect, caste has always been a very major issue in our internal political dynamics. But to say that caste is the only thing that matters and there is gross miscarriage of justice based on caste is incorrect", said Sekhon.

    Related:

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    Top Hindu Leader Hails Indian Gov't's Decision to Nullify Article 370 on Kashmir as 'Courageous'
    India Set to Amend Law to Curb Mob Lynching Menace - Minister
    Tags:
    Religious Freedom, US Congress, Mike Pompeo, United States, New Delhi, India
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