Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Leading US Congressmen introduce a Resolution on "Religious Freedom in India" -and specially on GUJARAT!

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Bipartisan House Resolution praises India's diversity, decries the role of Modi and sectarian forces in eroding religious freedom   
Resolution gaining momentum on Capitol Hill with 15 initial co-sponsors and more lawmakers expected to join

Washington D.C, Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Coalition Against Genocide (CAG - http://coalitionagainstgenocide.org/), a broad alliance dedicated to justice and accountability for the Gujarat pogrom of 2002, today welcomed the introduction of a bipartisan resolution in the US House of Representatives. The resolution praises India's "rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality," while raising concerns over the erosion of religious freedom. The resolution also highlights the role of Mr. Narendra Modi in the orchestrated violence and the continuing denial of justice to the victims of the 2002 pogroms.

In a historic development in Washington DC, 15 US Congressmen, led by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) introduced resolution H. Res. 417, calls the US administration to have "religious freedom and related human rights to be included in the United States-India Strategic Dialogue" going forward.
Highlighting the "divisive and violent agenda" of the Hindu nationalist movement that "has harmed the social fabric of India" as "contrary to the tolerant and pluralistic traditions of the Hindu faith", the resolution encourages "the establishment of an impartial body... to discuss and recommend actions to promote religious tolerance and understanding".

Commending the US administration in placing a visa ban on Modi, the resolution acknowledges that under Mr. Modi's rule in Gujarat, "minorities have suffered horrific violence, as well as attacks on their religious freedom through draconian anti-conversion laws". The resolution also refers to the harassment of whistle-blowers and human rights activists, that reflects on Mr. Modi's consistent role in the obstruction of justice.

The bipartisan resolution initially co-sponsored by 9 Democrats and 6 Republicans, has been referred to the House Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee on Asia and the Pacific. "This resolution's strong bipartisan support shows that the rights of religious minorities in India are a priority for the U.S. Congress," said Congressman Keith Ellison in a joint press release with Congressman Joe Pitts after the introduction of the resolution. "India is big enough for all its citizens. Its best leaders have worked to promote unity among its diverse populations, not division," commented Mr. Ellison referring to the elevation of Mr. Modi as the prime ministerial candidate of the BJP. "India is a land of unrivaled religious diversity, but with such diversity comes great responsibility in ensuring the rights of religious minorities," added Mr. Pitts.

Echoing the sentiments of the Congressmen, CAG spokesperson Mr. Kannan Srinivasan said: "It is a sad day for all Indians, that a man whose complicity in mass violence and suppression of minorities is acknowledged internationally, happens to be the Prime Ministerial candidate of a major political party in India." He further added: "The fact that threats to our secular polity and traditionally rich diversity are now an international concern, should cause all Indians to reflect on the direction our country has taken in recent years. Thankfully, this trend is not irreversible."  

The introduction of the resolution is the latest among several recent developments that highlight the US administration's consistent and grave concerns about Narendra Modi's role in broad human rights violations in Gujarat, including extra-judicial killings by the state law enforcement agencies. The resolution also comes close on the heels of a fiasco in Washington, DC that led a group of top Republican leaders to dissociate themselves from an event organized by Mr. Modi's supporters, due to their criminal misuse of the US House of Representatives Seal and pictures of prominent Republican congresspersons without their consent.

While Representatives Pitts and Ellison are the first two sponsors of the resolution, it is expected to gather more support in the weeks to come. The resolution also highlights violence that took place against Muslim, Christian and Sikh minorities. It calls on the Government of India to take steps to stem the erosion of religious freedom and urges Gujarat and other states to repeal anti-conversion laws.
CAG is a group of over 40 organizations, representing a diverse cross section of the religious and political spectrum of the Indian diaspora, including Hindu and other faith-based organizations.  The coalition is committed to democracy, pluralism and to the preservation of the idea of India.
1. Mr. Shaik Ubaid 
Phone:  516-567-0783

2. Mr. Raja Swamy
Phone: 864-804-0216 

1. Reps. Ellison and Pitts Introduce Resolution on Protection of Religious Minorities in India

2. H.Res 417 -- Praising India's rich religious diversity and commitment to tolerance and equality, and reaffirming the need to protect the rights and freedoms of religious minorities.  

3. Past resolutions on Narendra Modi / Religious freedom in India
H.RES.160 -- Condemning the conduct of Chief Minister Narendra Modi for his actions to incite religious persecution and urging the United States to condemn all violations of religious freedom in India

H.RES.569 -- Recognizing the tenth anniversary of the tragic communal violence in Gujarat, India.

H.RES.1140 -- Recognizing the 10th Anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

4. Congressional Letters
Letter by 25 Congresspersons urging the State Department to continue visa denial for Narendra Modi

Bipartisan Press Conference at Capitol Hill demands justice in Gujarat, India

Letter to President Obama from India's Parliamentarians demands continuation of Modi visa ban
27 US Lawmakers want Modi's visa ban extended; Coalition Against Genocide gets support from more congresspersons

US Congressman Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania writes to State Department

2008: Letter from Representative Betty McCollum to the US Department of State

2008: US State Department confirms Modi will not be given visa
'Did this letter stop Modi?' - Rediff.com, March 18, 2005

5. CAG: Modi purported event "at Capitol Hill" exposed as fake; Sangh Front in the US, NIAPPI / Shalabh Kumar Reported to the Ethics Committee for fraud

6. India: A Decade on, Gujarat Justice Incomplete - Human Rights Watch, Feb 24, 2012

7. Muslims are Gujarat's new outcastes: Survey - DNA, March 2, 2012

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Coalition Against Genocide | Ph/Fax: 443-927-9039 | 7000 Security Blvd. Suite 110 | Windsor Mill | MD | 21244

1 comment:

Modi360.com said...

We have launched a petition to request President Obama to reconsider US Administration’s stand on Mr. Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of the State of Gujarat, India.
Please visit http://www.modi360.com to review and sign this petition.