Sanction India, Says US Panel On Religious Freedom
WASHINGTON, DC (IANS) – A US government agency on religious freedom has called for sanctions against India for “recent efforts by the Indian government to silence activists, journalists, and lawyers abroad pose a serious threat to religious freedom.”
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has been critical of the Indian government and has recommended sanctions on it every year since 2020. It makes these recommendations to the US State Department, under the 1998 U.S. Religious Freedom Act which permits the government to have policy responses, including sanctions or waivers, but they are not automatic.
The State Department has ignored them so far.
USCIRF said it had recommended each year since 2020 that the State Department label India a country of particular concern,
USCIRF is an independent federal government commission.
“The Indian government’s alleged involvement in the killing of Sikh activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada and the plot to kill Gurpatwant Singh Pannun in the United States are deeply troubling and represent a severe escalation of India’s efforts to silence religious minorities and human rights defenders both within its country and abroad,” said USCIRF Commissioner Stephe Schneck in a statement on December 15.
“We call on the Biden administration to acknowledge the Indian government’s perpetration of particularly severe religious freedom violations and designate it as a country of particular concern.”