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India denies visa to US religious freedom investigators

India has barred U.S. representatives from investigating the county’s reported violations of religious freedom, continuing what critics call a trend of Hindu nationalism that threatens religious minorities in India.

The investigation, called for by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), followed reports of the abuse of Chistians, Muslims, and other religious minorities in India. The reports prompted USCIRF to delegate India a “country of particular concern” (CPC) in its 2020 annual report. India joined a list of 13 other CPCs in the report, including North Korea and China.

“We see no locus standi for a ‘foreign entity/government’ to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,” Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, according to a report by IndiaToday. He said India is a “pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion.”

Although India’s constitution protects the freedom of religion, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has manipulated the constitutional stipulation that religious freedom is “subject to public order,” using the clause to promote Hindu nationalism, according to the USCIRF report.

Read more at Catholic News Agency

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