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June 19, 2009

India Again Denies Visas to USCIRF Panel

Indian government officials have denied visas to commissioners of a U.S. religious freedom watchdog panel for the second time since 2001.

Members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) were forced to cancel their plans to assess religious freedom in India. Panelists were scheduled to leave on June 12, and have been trying to obtain Indian visas for the past seven years.

Nina Shea, a commissioner, said it is troublesome that the Indian authorities are so defensive about exposing potential religious violence in the world's largest democracy.

"I believe at the root of this, they want to cover it up," she said. "They have something to hide."

Hindu organizations in India are reportedly suspicious of the panel's intentions, according to an Indian news article that was forwarded to USCIRF from the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. The panel's visit to India is "an attack on our religious sovereignty," a spokesperson of the Vishva Hindu Parishad, a right-wing Hindu organization, told the Navbharat Times.

Commissioners had planned to travel to Gujarat, Karnataka and Orissa -- all areas of immediate concern for religiously motivated violence directed against minorities.

Shea said commissioners will look to experts and documentation to complete their report, though the trip would have been a chance for the Indian government to participate with preventive strategies at the local and national levels.

The Indian Embassy did not return phone calls.

Comments

USCIRF's only aim is to denounce hinduism and spread christianity. It is good indian embassy denied visas to these jokers. We dont need anyone approval or advice on religious tolerance. We have plenty of that and our law takes its own course if we find any violation. While you are at it, try going to Saudi arabia or some middle east country and cry for religious intolerence. That is more believable.

The USCIRF is a US political body appointed by the federal government and is a foreign policy tool of the US establishment to put diplomatic pressure on foreign governments. India has always had a consensus that foreign agencies of other governments will not be allowed and this move is consistent with that. What is new is that the UPA government agreed to allow the USCIRF to come to India before the elections to gain the minority vote and now that the elections have been won declined the visas as expected. This would not have been news if they had declined the visit routinely like they have done every year instead of the cynical manipulation this time for electoral gains.

There was a lady from the countryside who came to the city and checked into a hotel. Then she said to the bellman, "I refuse to take a tiny room like this, with no window and no bed in it! You can't treat me like a fool just because I don't travel much! I'm going to complain to the manager!" So the bellman said very politely, "Madam,this isn't your room. It's the elevator!"

India can take care of its religious freedom, i dont think there is any need for foreign body to
do that....we have the most diverse region than any where and we are free to follow any religion...

comments into word count categories is called for allowing the user to skim a list of three word answers, or make a cup of coffee and spend some time with the longer, more developed ideas.

USCIRF to come to India before the elections to gain the minority vote and now that the elections

I really like this type of interesting articles keep it up.