India cannot trample fundamental freedoms in Kashmir: Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai.

WASHINGTON -- The 'United States Commission on International Religious Freedom' (USCIRF) issued its latest annual report in April 2022 on violations of religious freedoms and practices around the world. The section of India notes with concern that 'In 2021, religious freedom conditions in India significantly worsened' and that 'In 2021, the Indian government repressed critical voices - especially religious minorities and those reporting on and advocating for them - through harassment, investigation, detention, and prosecution under laws such as the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and the Sedition Law. The UAPA and Sedition Law have been invoked to create an increasing climate of intimidation and fear to silence anyone speaking out against the government.'

While documenting the widespread intimidation of human rights defenders, the report added that 'The government arrested, filed complaints against, and launched criminal investigations into journalists and human rights advocates documenting religious persecution and violence, including Khurram Parvez, a prominent Muslim human rights advocate who has reported on abuses in Jammu and Kashmir.'

The report warned that the government continued to systematize its ideological vision of a Hindu state at both the national and state levels using both existing and new laws and structural changes hostile to the country's religious minorities. The report added that In September (2021), the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that the '[ongoing use of (UAPA) throughout India is worrying, with the Muslim-majority state of] Jammu and Kashmir having among the highest number of cases in the country.'

Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Chairman, Washington-based 'World Forum for Peace and Justice' responded to the report of USCIRF by stating that the people of Kashmir continue to suffer greatly as the conflict continues. It is evident that such a climate of widespread tension is not conducive to a peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute. There is a great urgency to end the human rights violations and reduce the tension, not only for the people of Kashmir but also for the minority communities in India - Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Dalits, and others.

While the Government of India struggles to support the facade of a progressive nation - the land of Gandhi - with respect to democracy and human rights, the malicious acts of terror being committed on a repeated basis are proof of a dire need of...

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