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Delhi Violence targeting Muslims: US panel on religious freedom

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New Delhi/Washington, Feb 27, 2020 –

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has said that the Delhi violence in which over 30 people were killed, was specifically targeted against the Muslims.

Expressing “grave concern over the ongoing violence taking place in Delhi”, the USCIRF in a statement said that as President Donald Trump’s inaugural visit to India winds down, North-East Delhi has been rocked by deadly rioting, with reports of violence and mobs specifically targeting Muslims.

“These incidents are even more concerning in the context of efforts within India to target and potentially disenfranchise Muslims across the country, in clear violation of international human rights standards,” USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said.

“According to reports, several mosques have also been set alight or vandalized. Many Muslim residents have been forced to flee the area. This unrest comes in the wake of widespread protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act following its passage in December 2019.

“The brutal and unchecked violence growing across Delhi cannot continue,” Bhargava said adding that the Indian government must take swift action to ensure the safety of all of its citizens.

“Instead, reports are mounting that the Delhi police have not intervened in violent attacks against Muslims, and the government is failing in its duty to protect its citizens.”

USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins said the ongoing violence in Delhi and the reported “attacks against Muslims, their homes and shops, and their houses of worship are greatly disturbing”.

One of the essential duties of any responsible government, he said, is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith.

“We urge the Indian government to take serious efforts to protect Muslims and others targeted by mob violence.”

In its annual report last year, the USCIRF classified India as a “Tier 2” country for engaging in or tolerating religious freedom violations that meet at least one of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, egregious standard for designations as a “country of particular concern (CPC)”, under the International Religious Freedom Act.

The ongoing violence in North-East Delhi erupted after clashes between pro and anti-CAA protesters on Sunday.

Besides the casualties, over 200 others have been injured in the deadliest violence in the national capital in decades.  (Agency)

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