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US Senators express concern for religious liberty in Modi’s India


A bipartisan group of US senators on Monday expressed concern for violations of religious liberty in India, terming the “ongoing violations” as disturbing. In a letter addressed to Donald Trump, the senators highlighted that India continued to fare poorly on religious freedom, urging Trump to take up the matter with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“India has consistently remained a Tier 2 country, meaning that USCIRF believes it requires close monitoring based on evidence of violations of religious freedom. These include violence, discrimination, and forced conversions, as well as harassment and intimidation,” the letter read.

While the letter mainly concerned itself with Modi government’s recent crackdown on non-profits and steered clear of recent mob lynchings, it nevertheless reminded Trump of US’ “persistent efforts to support and advocate for religious liberty around the world.”

“Over the past few years, the Indian government has made it difficult – if not impossible - for religious and humanitarian organisations to get funding to their charitable operations in India. Many of these organisations are simply trying to meet the basic needs of the citizens of India, a press release issued by Republican Senator John Kennedy, who led the US group, said.

The letter further stated that India in recent times had used the 2011’s amendments to the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) to target humanitarian and religious organisations.

“The number of organisations that have lost their licenses has exceeded 10,000 since Prime Minister Modi took office,” it noted.

The appeal, also signed by Senators Roy Blunt, Amy Klobuchar, James Lankford and Mike Crapo, said that India’s crackdown on Christian charity Compassion International left nearly 145,000 children it served in a lurch. The Modi government had in February 2016 stifled the flow of foreign funds to Compassion’s Indian-affiliated churches, a move that was described as “religiously-motivated” by the charity.

“Other organizations that have come under scrutiny include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Amnesty International, and Greenpeace,” the letter noted.

It is not clear if the issue of religious liberty came up in discussions between Modi and Trump. The official joint statement, which made strong references to terrorism, trade and security in the Indo-Pacific region, didn’t take note of the matter.



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Muslim Global: US Senators express concern for religious liberty in Modi’s India
US Senators express concern for religious liberty in Modi’s India
Muslim Global
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