|6/14/09: Hinduvadi organizations gear up... - Navbharat Times|
Hinduvadi organizations gear up: prepare for forceful demonstration against American commission
Navbharat Times, New Delhi, June 14 -- Hinduvadi organizations are wary of the proposed June-July visit to India of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a commission formed to assess the state of religious freedom throughout the world. These organizations believe that this [visit] is an attack on India’s religious sovereignty. On the basis of the USCIRF report, America will assess the degree of religious independence and tolerance in India.
The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) said that the UP government’s invitation to the USCIRF to come to India is an “attack on our religious sovereignty”.
Regarding the central government’s intention, he asked why the USCIRF was being sent to Gujarat, Orissa and Karnataka in particular. The VHP said: “Wherever this commission goes, we will oppose it just like we did the Simon Commission.”
The Sangh Parivar has a strong base in all of these three states, and religious violence has also occurred recently in Orissa and Karnataka. According to sources, in the next couple days, VHP leader Ashok Sindhal will hold a press conference clarifying the VHP’s position.
The Kanchi Kamkoti Institution’s Shankaracharya Swami Jayendra Saraswati [held in great esteem among Hindus throughout India] also opposed the USCIRF’s official visit. According to the PTO, Shankaracharya said in Mumbai that “this is interference in our internal religious affairs. This commission should not be given permission to come to India. We cannot accept external interference in our internal affairs.”
Before this, no central government had given permission to the USCIRF to come to India, but the UP government in its last days of office gave the group permission. The commission’s members could come to India in June or July.
It should be noted that the U.S. president appoints the heads of this commission and that this commission plays a significant role informing America’s policies on human rights and religious freedom in countries throughout the world. This commission issues a report every year and the U.S. State Department acts on the basis of this report. On the basis of this report, Gujarat’s chief minister was declined a visa to the U.S. in 2005. For 2009, the commission labeled 13 countries -- including China, North Korea and Pakistan -- “countries of particular concern”.