US religious freedom body tags India as ‘country of particular concern’

A file image of a participant at a rally protesting the gang rape of a 70-year-old Catholic nun in Kolkata, India on March 18, 2015. ( photo)

A United States government body has called for India’s inclusion on a religious freedom blacklist over what it described as a “drastic turn downward, with religious minorities under increasing assault.”

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said India is among “countries of particular concern” that should be subject to sanctions if they do not improve their records.

In its annual report published this week, the commission said India was “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing and egregious religious freedom violations.”

The report said the Indian government “allowed violence against minorities” and also “engaged in and tolerated hate speech and incitement to violence.”

India accused the USCIRF and being “biased,” adding that the commission’s “tendentious comments against India are not new.”

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