India denies visa to US religious freedom watchdogs

Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by NikSha, Jun 17, 2009.

  1. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    Apparently our government has finally grown a pair.. :113:

    TOI

    WASHINGTON: The Manmohan Singh government has scuppered a proposed visit to India this week by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a US Congress-mandated organization that monitors religious rights worldwide and gives independent policy recommendations to the US President and his administration.

    A USCIRF team that was to leave for New Dehi on June 12 was not given visas in time, according to an associate at the commission, who said it was done with the obvious intent of blocking the trip. "They knew we
    had tickets for June 12 and the visas are yet to be given, so the inference is obvious...they don’t want us to visit," the associate told ToI.

    The Indian Embassy in Washington, the issuing authority for the visa, referred all questions to New Delhi, while acknowledging that the USCIRF team had applied for visas and the applications had been forwarded to
    New Delhi as is the standard practice for all such visits.

    Sources in the government, without acknowledging that the visas were deliberately withheld, said it was not a proper time for such a visit. "We really don’t care about what they report," an official who spoke on background said. "But a high profile visit seen as having government sanctions would have raised hackles in India." The USCIRF has in its reports criticized violence against religious minorities in India.

    The official said the visa denial was not linked to the criticism of the proposed visit by the Hindu pontiff, Shankaracharya Jayendra Sarawati, who earlier this week described the USCIRF as an "intrusive mechanism of a foreign government which is interfering with the internal affairs of India," and said the team must not be allowed to enter the country.

    The Obama administration too did not press for the visit, given that US Undersecretary of State William Burns was in New Delhi around the time of the proposed USCIRF visit, preparing ground for the visit to India by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sometime in July. Most "commissioners" and staff of the USCIRF are appointees of the previous Bush administration.

    Although the United States acknowledges India’s rich religious and ethnic diversity and plurality, the USCIRF has in its annual reports criticized specific episodes involving violence against religious minority, like the ones in Gujarat and in Orissa.

    "We understand India’s sensitivities about being criticized for religious discrimination given its democratic and secular credentials," a commission associate said Wednesday. "But we are concerned that some of the
    judicial processes with regards to the incidents in Gujarat and Orissa are not functioning properly and we only wanted to get them going."

    Indian hardliners, especially those on the extreme right, chafe at the idea that any US body would want to scrutinize the country’s religious freedom, given its secular credentials, when it dares not interfere in fundamentalist countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where minority rights are non-existent. Senior RSS functionaries had specifically inquired repeatedly about the proposed USCIRF visit.

    Describing the proposed USCIRF visit to India as "incomprehensible," the US branch of the Vishwa Hindu Parishat said as the "largest functioning democracy in the world with an independent judiciary, a statutorily constituted Human rights Commission, an independent press and other supporting organizations would appear to be quite capable of taking care of the religious freedoms and human rights of its citizens."

    "India not only offers freedom of religion under its constitution, but does not discriminate based on religion. Similar freedoms are not available in its neighboring countries," the VHP said on a statement.

    But the Indian Left and the "secular" brigade in the US, including organizations representing minorities, argue that allowing such foreign bodies to visit India and examine its record and performance enhances the country's reputation as an open, democratic nation that has nothing to hide or fear.
     
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  3. Flint

    Flint Senior Member Senior Member

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    Damn right. Tell them to go to their favourite ally Saudi Arabia and set up a Catholic Church there.
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Has some US citizen in India been denied freedom to practise his religion wherein the visit could be understood.

    Or have we become the 51st State of the US?

    I have not heard the news of this change so far.

    Keeping Modi's reputation aside, he was not granted a visa even though he is a democratically elected CM!

    I think the US is overstepping its international brief!

    Goodness gracious! How unkind of India!

    Imagine that! How stupid can the Indians be. These sods had already got their ticket and some damn fool botched up their junket! :sarcastic:
     
  5. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Well done India, for rejecting visas of these bunch of hypocrites. They might want to come to India to check if their proselytizing work is going unhindered or not.
     
  6. Vinod2070

    Vinod2070 मध्यस्थ Stars and Ambassadors

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    Why do I get the feeling that these same "mahanubhavs" are terribly anti-US in all other matters. They opposed the 123 agreement and chaff at every military exercise or any move that even hints at improving our relationship with USA. On all those matters they feel that India is selling out to the USA!

    Some double standards, this.
     
  7. F-14

    F-14 Global Defence Moderator Senior Member

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    in India the word communism is the very eptiome of Double Standards it is in their blood
     
  8. NikSha

    NikSha Regular Member

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    Yeah, I stopped taking them seriously the day I read "Left". Let's just leave them behind and in China if that's what they want and go the RIGHT way.
     
  9. Antimony

    Antimony Regular Member

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    Wow, didn't think it was biologically possible:d_training::113:

    Interestingly, this is one area where both the lefties and wingnuts come together.
     
  10. johnee

    johnee Elite Member Elite Member

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    Good job, India. We dont need certificates from anyone about religious freedom(or for that matter, anything else) within India. US would do better to look into its role(historically) in abusing human rights. A nation that has record of Guantanamo Bay and throwing Atom Bombs, has no right to preach others. India(compared to others) is a 'holy cow'.
     
  11. Tshering22

    Tshering22 Sikkimese Saber Senior Member

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    Great decision. Finally we can keep those proselytizing terrorist missionaries out of India.. as if they've not done enough damage already in the east, destroying our Buddhist culture and turned it into a dirty combination of Taliban style Christian-Maoist hybrid fanaticism that is harrassing all those who've survived their brainwashing propaganda.
     
  12. mayfair

    mayfair Elite Member Elite Member

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    My fellow posters have said it all and in better words than I could about this bunch of charlatans. However, I'll add my two cents for USCIRF- Sod off.
     
  13. Agantrope

    Agantrope Senior Member Senior Member

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    Well done by stopping those evangelist from further propoganda over the religious harmony in the india. I would ask them better take a visit to Pakistan before coming here.
     
  14. ajtr

    ajtr Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Amazing how 1 and half year old thread got resurrected.
     
  15. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    In India, we have national and state holidays on events listed in the inexhaustive list as follows:
    Dussehra, Diwali, Id, Muharram, Good Friday, Christmas, Nowroz, Buddha Purnima, Guru Nanak Jayanti, Mahavir Jayanti, etc.. These cater to all the existing religious groups in India, such as Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains as well as Zoroastrians.

    Complete list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_holidays_in_India

    Would the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) kindly explain why not even half as many national or state holidays for religious purposes exist in the US?

    This is a classic example of the pot calling the kettle black!

    Kudos to the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India!
     

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