The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) expressed grave concern over the ongoing violence taking place in Delhi. The US panel said that the Delhi violence in which over 32 people were killed, was specifically targeted against the Muslims.
“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. 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,” USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said in a statement.
The ongoing violence in Northeast Delhi erupted after clashes between pro and anti-CAA protesters on February 23rd, 2020. Besides the casualties which include a head constable, over 200 others have been injured in the deadliest violence in the national capital in decades.
“The brutal and unchecked violence growing across Delhi cannot continue. 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,” Bhargava added.
USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins stated that 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 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,” Perkins said.
On the other hand, India has said that the comments made by the USCIRF on Delhi violence are “factually inaccurate and misleading”.
“These are factually inaccurate and misleading, and appear to be aimed at politicising the issue,” the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on February 27th, 2020.
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said,” Our law enforcement agencies are working on the ground to prevent violence and ensure restoration of confidence and normalcy. We would urge that irresponsible comments are not made at this sensitive time.”