A group of 34 United States lawmakers has written to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to protect the rights of religious minorities. They decried the “increasing intolerance and violence” in the country, PTI reported. The letter was made public on Saturday by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission.
Signed by 26 members of the House of Representatives and eight senators, the letter also asked Modi to “take steps to control the activities of groups such as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh”, and instruct Indian security forces to enforce the laws that protect these vulnerable groups. The letter in particular seeks the defence of Muslim, Sikh and Christian rights. It cites the example of a 2014 ban on non-Hindu religious speeches in Bastar, Chhattisgarh, which has “effectively criminalized the practice of Christianity for an estimated 300 Christian families in the region”.
The letter also criticised the “nearly countrywide” beef ban, saying it is “increasing tensions and encouraging vigilante violence against the Indian Muslim community.” It also mentioned the death of two Sikh men during the protests against the desecration of the Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib.