‘It has no Hindu members’: Diaspora body slams USCIRF for ‘biased’ reports on India | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘It has no Hindu members’: Diaspora body slams USCIRF for ‘biased’ reports on India

By, New Delhi
May 18, 2024 08:52 AM IST

“One in every six people on the earth are from the Hindu religion. That is not represented on the commission,” said FIIDS chief Khanderao Kand.

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has been producing “biased” reports on India and Hindus as the religion has no representation in the commission, according to FIIDS, an Indian diaspora body in the United States of America.

Representational Photo: In recent years, USCIRF has repeatedly expressed concern at the "deterioration" of human rights and religious freedom in India (TWITTER/@USCIRF.).
Representational Photo: In recent years, USCIRF has repeatedly expressed concern at the "deterioration" of human rights and religious freedom in India (TWITTER/@USCIRF.).

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"One in every six people on the earth are are from the Hindu religion. That is not represented on the commission, and this is going to be a big miss in terms of bringing the diversity and having a proper balance in the International Religious Freedom report,” Khanderao Kand, chief of Policy and Strategy at Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies, told PTI on Friday.

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Kand was reacting to the appointment of three new USCIRF commissioners after the term of the previous commissioners – Abraham Cooper, David Curry, Frederick Davie, Mohamed Magid, Nury Turkel, and Frank Wolf – concluded on May 14. The new appointees are Maureen Ferguson, Vicky Hartzler, and Asif Mahmood.

The fresh appointments show that the US federal government commission has missed a “historic” opportunity to have a representative for “diversity” and the “balance” in the USCIRF, he remarked.

Also Read: USCIRF says release of Bilkis Bano case convicts ‘part of a pattern’ in India

Speaking on the body's recent annual report on India, Khan asserted that such reports are always full of “omission and commission.”

“The study does not contextualise. It does not give the historical facts or the trends. The report then fits to a certain narrative and that's why it is not factually complete, and it becomes a polemic. It is predictably anti-India. Unfortunately, it is recommending India to be a country of particular concern,” he said.

“The study lacks transparency on how experts are selected or evidence is gathered. There is a lack of diversity and as a result of that, the report seems to be polemic and biased,” Kand added.

Also Read: India rejects USCIRF’s criticism on reported treatment of Covid-19 patients

In the annual report released earlier this month, the USCIRF urged the State Department to designate 17 nations as Countries of Particular Concern (CPCs), based on their governments “engaging in or tolerating particularly severe violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief.”

Of these countries, as many as 12 were already desingated as CPCs by the State Department in December last year: Burma, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Iran, Nicaragua, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan. The other five were mentioned as additional recommendations: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, India, Nigeria, and Vietnam.

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