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6/20/2023 Washington (International Christian Concern) – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has urged President Biden to discuss religious freedom issues with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the two leaders meet Thursday. 

USCIRF commissioner David Curry said, “the Biden administration has a unique opportunity to explicitly incorporate religious freedom concerns into the two countries’ bilateral relationship. It is vital the U.S. government acknowledge the Indian government’s perpetration and toleration of particularly severe violations of religious freedom against its own population and urge the government to uphold its human rights obligations.”  

Since 2020, USCIRF has recommended that the president designate India as a CPC (Countries of Particular Concern). Each year, the president is required to designate all countries that engage in or tolerate particularly severe violations of religious freedom as CPCs. The designation allows the United States to take a wide range of actions against a country from public condemnation to hardline sanctions. USCIRF provides extensive background information on each country it recommends for CPC designation. India’s discriminatory practices and anti-conversion laws against Christians and other minority groups have been widely documented. 

India’s constitution provides for freedom of conscience and the right of all individuals to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion. Many states, however, prohibit Indians from converting to Christianity or changing their faith.

Since Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took power in 2014, Christian persecution has skyrocketed. Modi’s government has increasingly adopted pro-Hindu ideologies backed by many Hindu nationalist groups. The RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) is one such group that has gained power and taken an uncompromising and often violent stand against Christians. Hindu nationalism (Hindutva) has dominated religious life.  

India, Modi, and the RSS were cited in International Christian Concern’s (ICC) 2021 and 2022 Persecutor of the Year annual reports.