Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
India

Worrying increase in Hate speech, communal violence in India: US Senator

Democrat Ed Markey was speaking at a Congressional Briefing, said that it was the duty of the US to speak out when fundamental human rights are under attack

Sabrangindia 27 Jan 2022

fundamental human rights
Image Courtesy:the1a.org

On January 26, 2022, India’s 73rd Republic Day, a coalition of 17 United States-based rights organisations held a Congressional Briefing on “protecting India’s pluralist Constitution”. The speakers included Dr. Hamid Ansari (Former Vice-President, India), Archbishop Peter Machado (Archdiocese of Bangalore), U.S. Senator Ed Markey, Members of U.S. Congress Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Andy Levin, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Nadine Maenza (Chair, United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)), Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (Former President of Mauritius), Kerry Kennedy (President, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights) and Carolyn Nash (Asia Advocacy Director, Amnesty International USA).

The event was organised by o 17 US organisations – including the Indian-American Muslim Council (IAMC). The Tripura government, in an affidavit in the Supreme Court about recent communal violence in the state, has accused IAMC of “having links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other extremist outfits”. The IAMC has firmly rejected the charge and calls itself an American civil rights organisation. However it is this that the minister picked up on.

The four senior US political figures – Senator Ed Markey and Congressmen Andy Levin, Jamie Raskin, and Jim McGovern have, in the past too, raised concerns about India’s human rights record.

On Thursday Markey, a senator from Massachusetts since 2013, once again expressed concern at what he called the Modi government’s attempts to “peel back rights of religious minorities in India” saying “Laws on religious conversion, citizenship and other restrictive measures fly in the face of India’s inclusive, secular constitution and core tenets of any democracy.” He also accused the Indian government of targeting minorities saying “the Indian government continues to target the practices of minority faiths, it creates an atmosphere where discrimination and violence can take root. in recent years, we have seen an uptick in online hate speech and acts of hate, including vandalised mosques, torched churches, and communal violence” and added that the “duty of the US” to speak up whenever human rights were “under attack, but especially so when it happened in India since India was a vital US partner. We come together to celebrate India’s 73rd Republic Day, we will continue to honour the strong ties shared by our two countries while ensuring that we will speak up when a fellow democracy and strategic partner is unable to protect all of its own people.”

Jamie Raskin said, "There have been a lot of problems with the issue of religious authoritarianism and discrimination taking place in India. So we want to make sure that India stays on the path of respecting religious liberty, freedom, pluralism, toleration and dissent for everybody." Andy Levin added, "Regrettably, today, the world's largest democracy is seeing backsliding, human rights under attack and religious nationalism. Since 2014, India has fallen from 27 to 53 on the Democracy Index. And Freedom House has downgraded India from free to partly free." 

Speaker after speaker, spoke about the rise in hate speech against minorities in India, and the recent attacks and violations of human rights, civil liberties and religious freedom in the country. 

Former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari pointed out how “In recent years, we have experienced the emergence of trends and practises that dispute the well established principle of civic nationalism, and interposes a new and imaginary practice of cultural nationalism… almost 20 percent of our people belong to religious minorities.” He added that “an electoral majority” was being presented “in the guise of a religious majority and monopolised political power. It wants to distinguish citizens on the basis of their faith, give vent to intolerance, insinuate otherness and promote disquiet and insecurity. Some of its recent manifestations are chilling and reflect poorly on our claim to be governed by the rule of law.”

He asked that it should be questioned “why have segments of opinion in a plural society, with a long tradition of accommodation of diversity, decided to question it in favour of a unilateral and distorted reading of its past?” These home truths riled up the right wing ego system into action and the targeting of the former Vice President soon began on Thursday. Union minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi commented that “Backed by Pakistan & ISI, these Modi bashers are making condemnable remarks against India.” Naqvi, told the media that those “who used to exploit minority votes are now anxious about the prevailing positive environment in the country." 

 

 

Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, spoke about the Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, aka the anti-conversion Bill, and said that “this bill is not necessary” and that the “Constitution is strong enough and we have many laws and regulations, many Parliamentary Acts, that can surely withstand forceful or fraudulent conversions” adding that such a law “will be discriminatory to Christians alone”, and will also affect “the freedom of marriage” and the right to privacy.

Nadine Maenza, Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, said that “unfortunately, religious freedom conditions in India have been deteriorating at a rapid pace in recent years. Since 2014, the BJP led Indian government has increasingly institutionalised its ideological vision of a Hindu state at both national and state levels, through a foundation of laws and structural changes hostile to the country’s religious minorities, which include Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits and Adivasis.”

Recently, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has listed Human Rights Martyr Fr Stan Swamy, human rights defender  Khurram Parvez, journalist Siddique Kappan as Freedom of Religion or Belief victims. The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the US Congress to monitor, analyse and report on religious freedom and has listed 1309 victims from across the world on its Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Victims List. The list is a detailed database of persons who have been imprisoned or detained in a Country of Particular Concern (CPC). According to the  USCIRF a CPC is one that has either engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” violations of religious freedom. India has been recommended to the US State Department to be designated as a “country of particular concern” or CPC, for alleged religious freedom violations last year as well. On the list were Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam as CPC, along with India. These were named after USCIRF’s 2020 assessment, which was timed in anticipation of the State Department’s announcement of the CPC and Special Watch List (SWL) designations. The USCIRF had released an extensive factsheet detailing violations specified under the International Religious Freedom Act that “if perpetrated or tolerated by a foreign government, should cause the state department to designate the country as a CPC or place it on the SWL.” 

India had been recommended for CPC designation in September 2020 as well by the US Congress-constituted federal body, However, when the State Department made its announcement of nations that were designated CPC in December 2020, India was missing from the list. In May this year, for the second year running, the USCIRF’s annual report recommended that India be designated as a “country of particular concern” or CPC. According to the 2021 annual report, released by, Gayle Manchin, who heads the organisation, while 2020 was “challenging for most nations trying to balance public health concerns alongside the fundamental right to freedom of religion or belief” it has been recommended that the state department designate “Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan,” which were already on the State Department’s 2020 list “as well as four others—India, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam,” as “countries of particular concern." 

Related

PM Modi’s maun over the genocide call speaks volumes
Fr Stan Swamy, Khurram Parvez, Siddique Kappan on USCIRF’s Freedom of Religion or Belief victims list
HRW World Report 2022 showcases India’s worsening Human Rights situation
Will the US tag India a 'country of particular concern'?

Worrying increase in Hate speech, communal violence in India: US Senator

Democrat Ed Markey was speaking at a Congressional Briefing, said that it was the duty of the US to speak out when fundamental human rights are under attack

fundamental human rights
Image Courtesy:the1a.org

On January 26, 2022, India’s 73rd Republic Day, a coalition of 17 United States-based rights organisations held a Congressional Briefing on “protecting India’s pluralist Constitution”. The speakers included Dr. Hamid Ansari (Former Vice-President, India), Archbishop Peter Machado (Archdiocese of Bangalore), U.S. Senator Ed Markey, Members of U.S. Congress Rep. Jim McGovern, Rep. Andy Levin, Rep. Jamie Raskin, Nadine Maenza (Chair, United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)), Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (Former President of Mauritius), Kerry Kennedy (President, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights) and Carolyn Nash (Asia Advocacy Director, Amnesty International USA).

The event was organised by o 17 US organisations – including the Indian-American Muslim Council (IAMC). The Tripura government, in an affidavit in the Supreme Court about recent communal violence in the state, has accused IAMC of “having links with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and other extremist outfits”. The IAMC has firmly rejected the charge and calls itself an American civil rights organisation. However it is this that the minister picked up on.

The four senior US political figures – Senator Ed Markey and Congressmen Andy Levin, Jamie Raskin, and Jim McGovern have, in the past too, raised concerns about India’s human rights record.

On Thursday Markey, a senator from Massachusetts since 2013, once again expressed concern at what he called the Modi government’s attempts to “peel back rights of religious minorities in India” saying “Laws on religious conversion, citizenship and other restrictive measures fly in the face of India’s inclusive, secular constitution and core tenets of any democracy.” He also accused the Indian government of targeting minorities saying “the Indian government continues to target the practices of minority faiths, it creates an atmosphere where discrimination and violence can take root. in recent years, we have seen an uptick in online hate speech and acts of hate, including vandalised mosques, torched churches, and communal violence” and added that the “duty of the US” to speak up whenever human rights were “under attack, but especially so when it happened in India since India was a vital US partner. We come together to celebrate India’s 73rd Republic Day, we will continue to honour the strong ties shared by our two countries while ensuring that we will speak up when a fellow democracy and strategic partner is unable to protect all of its own people.”

Jamie Raskin said, "There have been a lot of problems with the issue of religious authoritarianism and discrimination taking place in India. So we want to make sure that India stays on the path of respecting religious liberty, freedom, pluralism, toleration and dissent for everybody." Andy Levin added, "Regrettably, today, the world's largest democracy is seeing backsliding, human rights under attack and religious nationalism. Since 2014, India has fallen from 27 to 53 on the Democracy Index. And Freedom House has downgraded India from free to partly free." 

Speaker after speaker, spoke about the rise in hate speech against minorities in India, and the recent attacks and violations of human rights, civil liberties and religious freedom in the country. 

Former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari pointed out how “In recent years, we have experienced the emergence of trends and practises that dispute the well established principle of civic nationalism, and interposes a new and imaginary practice of cultural nationalism… almost 20 percent of our people belong to religious minorities.” He added that “an electoral majority” was being presented “in the guise of a religious majority and monopolised political power. It wants to distinguish citizens on the basis of their faith, give vent to intolerance, insinuate otherness and promote disquiet and insecurity. Some of its recent manifestations are chilling and reflect poorly on our claim to be governed by the rule of law.”

He asked that it should be questioned “why have segments of opinion in a plural society, with a long tradition of accommodation of diversity, decided to question it in favour of a unilateral and distorted reading of its past?” These home truths riled up the right wing ego system into action and the targeting of the former Vice President soon began on Thursday. Union minister of Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi commented that “Backed by Pakistan & ISI, these Modi bashers are making condemnable remarks against India.” Naqvi, told the media that those “who used to exploit minority votes are now anxious about the prevailing positive environment in the country." 

 

 

Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, spoke about the Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, aka the anti-conversion Bill, and said that “this bill is not necessary” and that the “Constitution is strong enough and we have many laws and regulations, many Parliamentary Acts, that can surely withstand forceful or fraudulent conversions” adding that such a law “will be discriminatory to Christians alone”, and will also affect “the freedom of marriage” and the right to privacy.

Nadine Maenza, Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, said that “unfortunately, religious freedom conditions in India have been deteriorating at a rapid pace in recent years. Since 2014, the BJP led Indian government has increasingly institutionalised its ideological vision of a Hindu state at both national and state levels, through a foundation of laws and structural changes hostile to the country’s religious minorities, which include Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits and Adivasis.”

Recently, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has listed Human Rights Martyr Fr Stan Swamy, human rights defender  Khurram Parvez, journalist Siddique Kappan as Freedom of Religion or Belief victims. The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the US Congress to monitor, analyse and report on religious freedom and has listed 1309 victims from across the world on its Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB) Victims List. The list is a detailed database of persons who have been imprisoned or detained in a Country of Particular Concern (CPC). According to the  USCIRF a CPC is one that has either engaged in or tolerated “systematic, ongoing, and egregious” violations of religious freedom. India has been recommended to the US State Department to be designated as a “country of particular concern” or CPC, for alleged religious freedom violations last year as well. On the list were Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam as CPC, along with India. These were named after USCIRF’s 2020 assessment, which was timed in anticipation of the State Department’s announcement of the CPC and Special Watch List (SWL) designations. The USCIRF had released an extensive factsheet detailing violations specified under the International Religious Freedom Act that “if perpetrated or tolerated by a foreign government, should cause the state department to designate the country as a CPC or place it on the SWL.” 

India had been recommended for CPC designation in September 2020 as well by the US Congress-constituted federal body, However, when the State Department made its announcement of nations that were designated CPC in December 2020, India was missing from the list. In May this year, for the second year running, the USCIRF’s annual report recommended that India be designated as a “country of particular concern” or CPC. According to the 2021 annual report, released by, Gayle Manchin, who heads the organisation, while 2020 was “challenging for most nations trying to balance public health concerns alongside the fundamental right to freedom of religion or belief” it has been recommended that the state department designate “Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan,” which were already on the State Department’s 2020 list “as well as four others—India, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam,” as “countries of particular concern." 

Related

PM Modi’s maun over the genocide call speaks volumes
Fr Stan Swamy, Khurram Parvez, Siddique Kappan on USCIRF’s Freedom of Religion or Belief victims list
HRW World Report 2022 showcases India’s worsening Human Rights situation
Will the US tag India a 'country of particular concern'?

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Videos

Freedom

Jignesh Mevani Arrested | Citizens come out in protest nationwide

Watch how Nationwide Protests have erupted over the last few days, by various independent groups, civil society organizations and congress leaders, over the arrest of Dalit leader and Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani by Kokrajhar Police in Assam.

Freedom

Jignesh Mevani Arrested | Citizens come out in protest nationwide

Watch how Nationwide Protests have erupted over the last few days, by various independent groups, civil society organizations and congress leaders, over the arrest of Dalit leader and Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani by Kokrajhar Police in Assam.

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives