The chairperson of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), Nadine Maenza has expressed her organisation’s concern for the victims of the ongoing communal violence in Tripura. She asked for the Indian government to work towards stopping violence against religious communities.
Maenza expressed her concern over the sudden flurry of communal agitation in Tripura, in which Muslims were targeted, Mosques were burnt down and shops were vandalized. The violence saw its roots in a Vishwa Hindu Parishad rally which was conducted to supposedly protest the violence against Hindus in Bangladesh.
“USCIRF is concerned about ongoing violence in #Tripura against #Muslims, which some regard as retaliation for attacks against #Hindus in #Bangladesh last month. The Indian government must stop violence against religious communities,” the USCIRF tweeted quoting Maenza.
The USCIRF also quoted its commissioner, Anurima Bhargava, saying, “USCIRF is particularly alarmed about reports from #Tripura of mobs desecrating mosques & torching properties of #Muslims. The Indian gov’t must bring those responsible for instigating & engaging in religious violence to justice & must prevent further attacks.”
The USCIRF has spoken out against the rabid communal forces at work in India and hasn’t refrained from pinning the blame on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In the Commission’s annual report on religious freedom published in April, the Commission declared India (alongside 14 other countries) as a “country of particular concern” for “egregious religious freedom violations”.
Chairperson Maenza in an interview with Al Jazeera a few days ago, stated that the ruling BJP has been promoting Hindu nationalist policies. She rubbished the claims that “non-state actors” were solely at play in promoting religious divides and pinned the blame on the BJP.
The Commission has urged the US government to continue raising religious freedom concerns in the US-India bilateral relationship to remedy the problem in Tripura and the rest of India as well.
The USCIRF is an independent and bipartisan federal government entity created under the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act to monitor the universal right to freedom of religion or belief overseas.