Resolution is ‘anti-India’, ‘anti-Hindu’.
By Deepak Chitnis
WASHINGTON, DC: The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) has come out in strong retaliation against a Congressional resolution, introduced last month, that calls on the Indian government to step up its efforts in prosecuting religious violence within the country and praises the American government for standing firm in its decision not to grant Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a visa.
The resolution, formally titled House Resolution 417, was introduced into the floor of the House of Representatives on November 18 by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), and has been sponsored by nearly 30 other Congressmen since then. HR 417 alleges that the majority of religious-based violence in India is to be blamed on Hindus, and that the Indian government must act quickly and decisively to stem the tide of bloodshed against religious minorities.
It calls on several states, Gujarat in particular, to repeal anti-conversion laws that are in place, and once again highlights the role BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Modi allegedly had in the 2002 Gujarat riots.
Specifically, the resolution “urges India to increase training on human rights and religious freedom standards and practices for police and the judiciary, particularly in states with a history or likelihood of communal violence.”
In a press release the HAF put out on Wednesday, the organization says that Pitt and Ellison are “at it again,” and calls the resolution both “anti-India and anti-Hindu.” According to the HAF, the resolution is severely flawed for four main reasons:
- It only blames Hindus for violence, even though 80% of religious attacks last year were orchestrated by the Indian Mujahideen and most of the other 20% were by Maoist extremists.
- It leaves out several key attacks on Hindus in 2013, such as those in Akbaruddin and Bodh Gaya, that were carried out by Islamists and other religious fundamentalists.
- It urges India to create courts specifically to deal with religious minority cases and appeals, even though the US has not made similar suggestions to countries like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, where violence against religious minorities is far more prevalent.
- It ignores the findings of the Indian Supreme Court’s Special Investigation Team that cleared Modi of any wrongdoing related to the 2002 Gujarat riots.
The press release urges followers to write to their Congressional leaders and fight against the legislation, saying that those who support it have already hired lobbyists to help speed it through to passage.
“We need YOU [HAF supporters] to counter their efforts by calling your Representative TODAY. We have till Friday [December 6] 5:00pm to make a lasting impact,” says the HAF in bold lettering. the HAF also tells supporters to make sure they contact their Representatives, not their Senators, since the resolution is not a Senate matter at the moment.
The full text of HR 417 can be found here.
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