Date: February 26, 2020
Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expresses grave concern over the ongoing violence taking place in Delhi, India’s capital city. As President Donald Trump’s inaugural visit to India winds down, northeastern Delhi has been rocked by deadly rioting, with reports of violence and mobs specifically targeting Muslims. So far, more than 20 people have been killed in the violence and close to 200 injured. 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,” said USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava. “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. 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 Chair Tony Perkins stated, “The ongoing violence we are witnessing 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 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 2019 Annual Report, 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,” or CPC, under the International Religious Freedom Act.