FIACONA welcomes the USCIRF designation of India as a country of particular concern

Washington, DC: The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations applauds the designation of India as a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today in Washington.
India has been going through tumultuous upheavals caused by the rise of Hindu nationalism in recent years. The formation of a national government by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014 under Mr. Narendra Modi has seriously jeopardized the fundamental constitutional rights of a vast majority of Christians and other religious minorities in modern India.
The Hindu nationalist cadre are given unofficial protection from the Administration for their vigilantism against the Christian population. Meanwhile, India based organizations have reported that the attacks on churches and prayer meetings have dramatically gone up from even last year.
The justice system has often failed to defend the rights of persecuted Christians and other minority religions. Police have joined in mob violence against Christians, filed reports against the victims, and courts have given favor to the attackers.

Anti-conversion laws, rather than dissuading “fraudulent conversions” have been weaponized in several states to stop conversions of any kind. At the same time Ghar Wapsi, or “homecoming,” ceremonies of forceful conversion to Hinduism are applauded.
Incidents of anti-Christian violence rose from 147 in 2014, when Mr. Modi became prime minister, to 328 in 2019. India’s Christians suffered “225 incidents of religiously motivated violence” in just the first ten months of 2020, many at the hands of vigilante mobs.
During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Christians in rural areas faced more opposition than ever as a result of their faith. According to Open Doors, Christians now face “economic problems as well as the opposition and hatred from the community.”
Additionally, Christians in India have been denied emergency COVID relief: some being told that “your church or your God should feed you”. Reportedly, more than 80,000 Christians were turned away from official government food distribution points, and had to seek aid elsewhere.
With all of these considerations in mind, FIACONA whole-heartedly agrees with USCIRF in their decision to continue the designation of India as a CPC for the year 2021.
As far as the Commissioner who disagrees with the majority decision on recommending India as a CPC, he has not only violated the mandate he has been given to study and report incidents of violence against a people of particular religious faith in a country but he has also agreed with the aggressor that is determined to hurt the 2000 year old church in India. So, we recommend that he floats once again down the Ganges to reflect on his monumental error in judgment and resign from the Commission.