Saturday, April 5, 2014

Tulsi Gabbard: defender of the faith

There is no soft way to say this: brown Hindus need a white sister to help them out in face of virulent opposition from the likes of Syed Bukhari and John Dayal in India and Katherine Mayo (aka Katrina Lantos) in the west. A saffron salute to her courage in standing up for defence-less and powerless Hindus at home (America) and abroad.
Several eminent officials and experts from both India and the US have told lawmakers that a BJP-led government at the center would be detrimental to the basic rights of the religious minorities in India.

Testifying before the influential Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission of the US Congress (TLHRC) on 'The Plight of Religious Minorities in India', the US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) Vice Chair Katrina Lantos yesterday said the USCIRF has been closely monitoring the situation in India.

"Many religious minority communities have reported to USCIRF that they fear that a BJP win, and the election of Narendra Modi as the country's Prime Minister, will be detrimental to them and religious freedom. The BJP last led the national government between 1998 and 2004," Lantos said.

"Between 2002 and 2004 USCIRF had recommended that the State Department designate India a 'Country of Particular Concern' (CPC) for the government's systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom," she said.

She said the USCIRF has long been concerned about the BJP's and Modi's close association with Hindu nationalist organisations.

"The activities of these groups, especially those with an extremist agenda or history of using violence against minorities, often negatively impact the status of religious freedom in the country," she said.

"Sangh Parivar entities aggressively press for governmental policies that would promote a Hindu nationalist agenda, and adhere in varying degrees to an ideology of Hindutva, which holds non-Hindus as foreign to India," Lantos said.

Meanwhile, Congressman Tulsi Gabbard, the first ever Hindu lawmaker in the US Congress, questioned the timing of the Congressional hearing and alleged that its goal is to influence the Indian elections.
"I do not believe the timing of this hearing is a coincidence. The national elections in India begin on Monday and continue until May 12. I am concerned that the goal of this hearing is to influence the outcome of India's national elections, which is not an appropriate role for the US Congress," Gabbard said.