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Proposed US Congress resolution makes Minority Rights central concern of Indo-US relations

December 11, 2013 | By

Washington, D.C., (December 11, 2013): According to a detailed press release sent to the Sikh Siyasat News (SSN) by Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI), a new U.S. Congress resolution introduced by Representative Joseph Pitts (R-PA) proposes making “calls for religious freedom and related human rights” a key concern in future dialogues with India and specifically commends the U.S. government’s decision, in 2005, to refuse a visitor’s visa to Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi because of his “connivance” in the 2002 Gujarat Genocide, marking the first time in American history a foreign politician has been refused entry to the U.S. for human rights violations.

H.R. 417, introduced on November 18, was referred to the U.S. House Foreign Affairs and Judiciary committees. It must pass both before proceeding to the House floor for a vote. The resolution coincides with a mid-November Capitol Hill scandal involving Chicago-based Shalli Kumar, a foreign agent working for Modi’s campaign who was caught fraudulently using names and photos of top Republican lawmakers (including Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Speaker of the House John Boehner) to imply they are endorsing Modi’s PM candidacy.

“There is no better time to defend the human rights of minorities than when foreign politicians send their agents abroad to abuse the reputations of American leaders like Speaker Boehner by harnessing their names in support of a genocidal maniac who massacres minorities,” remarked Bhajan Singh, a director of US-based Organization for Minorities of India (OFMI). “Representative Pitts is a shining example of brotherly love and we welcome his words in defense of the weak. I implore every U.S. representative to join the brave 27 who have already co-sponsored H.R. 417, and I urge every American to speak in support of its swift passage.”

The resolution faces stiff opposition from the India lobby, including the Hindu-American Foundation, which stated on Dec. 5: “India… hardly needs lecturing or interference from certain members of the United States Congress.” One Hindu publication, Niti Central, which is committed to promoting Gandhism, described the resolution on Nov. 20 as “direct interference in the internal affairs of India at a time of crucial elections to five States (generally regarded as a semi-final before Parliamentary elections next year).”

“The level of hypocrisy evident from apologists for the Indian State’s conduct is absolutely appalling,” said Pieter Singh, an advisor to OFMI. “India was just caught red-handedly attempting to subvert the U.S. Congress in favor of a fascist politician with blood on his hands, yet the India lobby accuses our nation of interference for its sincere concern over India’s toleration of multiple massacres of minorities in the past 20 years. Now that Modi, a protege of both Hitler and Gandhi, is poised to become Prime Minister of India, the U.S. Congress has a moral duty to condemn his barbarism.”

Modi, nicknamed the “Butcher of Gujarat” by his opponents, is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate for Prime Minister. In keeping with his political party, Modi embraces Hindutva, a supremacist political ideology described by the U.S. State Departments as treating “non-Hindus as foreign to India.” Citing this ideology, H.R. 417 declares: “Strands of the Hindu nationalist movement have advanced a divisive and violent agenda that has harmed the social fabric of India.”

The nationalistic philosophy of Hindutva motivated the violence which began in February 2002, when BJP members, armed with addresses of Muslim-owned homes and businesses, systematically massacred thousands in the most brutal ways possible — setting people on fire, gang-raping women, cutting unborn babies from the womb, tearing people’s limbs apart, decapitating, mauling, and butchering. Police joined in the violence, telling victims: “We have no orders to save you.”

The U.S. government, international human rights groups, police whistleblowers, and Modi’s own party-members blame him as the architect of a multi-month slaughter of Muslims by police-backed mobs of BJP members. Smita Narula, senior South Asia researcher for Human Rights Watch, stated in 2002: “The attacks were planned in advance and organized with extensive participation of the police and state government.”

In 2005, the U.S. State Department denied Modi a visitor’s visa based on evidence he coordinated the violence; on November 5, a U.S. State Department spokesperson stated ( there is “no change in our longstanding visa policy [towards Modi].” Going one step further, H.R. 417 ( “commends the United States Government for exercising its authority in 2005 under the Inter- national Religious Freedom Act of 1998 to deny a United States visa to Narendra Modi on the grounds of religious freedom violations, and encourages it to review the applications of any individuals implicated in religious freedom violations under the same standard.”

On December 10, declared by the United Nations as Human Rights Day, Indian minorities throughout the U.S. will rally in support of H.R. 417. One protest will occur outside the San Francisco Indian Consulate. “We will gather to demand passage of H.R. 417 in honor of Gurbaksh Singh’s hunger strike,” said Bhajan Singh. “Gurbaksh has refused to eat since November 14 as a protest against the indefinite detention of political prisoners who have been kept imprisoned past completion of their sentences.”

According to OFMI, since the 1980s, the Indian State has been marked by unbridled corruption, total impunity for state-sanctioned killers, and suspension of the rule of law. Long-standing laws and policies which OFMI representatives specifically cited as making a mockery of due process include: 1) Indefinite detention without trial;

2) bans on seditious speech, which is arbitrarily defined;

3) Article 59 of the Indian Constitution, which allows India’s president to institute dictatorial “President’s Rule” over any region designated as “troubled”;

4) torture of most detainees, many of whom are killed in custody;

5) the use of bounties and quotas to encourage (and even require) security forces to deliberately kill minorities in staged encounters and

6) the assumption of guilt until one is proven innocent.

“Modi’s philosophy holds one race above all others,” said Arvin Valmuci, an OFMI coordinator. “Modi is nationalistic, brutal, and accepts no dissent. His political party teaches that India is for Hindus just as Hitler taught Germany was for Aryans. Nazism itself is derived from Aryan philosophy, even representing itself with the ancient Hindu swastika. Modi is possessed by an ancient spirit of divide and rule, he will only be satisfied by iron-fisted control, and he uses the same playbook as that other son of Gujarat, Mohandas Gandhi.”

Valmuci suggested that Gandhi himself was a supremacist, noting the Hindu preacher’s 1947 comment: “It cannot be said that Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism are separate religions. All these four faiths and their offshoots are one. Hinduism is an ocean into which all the rivers run. It can absorb Islam and Christianity and all other religions and only then can it become the ocean.”

Valmuci emphasized that support of H.R. 417 is not an endorsement of Indian National Congress (INC) party’s PM candidate Rahul Gandhi, whom he called “another head of the Indian State hydra and a tool for tyranny.” He cited other violators of human rights who have been promoted to the highest halls of power in India, saying: “Some of most infamous architects of genocide in India who have received impunity and reward for their atrocities include L.K. Advani, Kamal Nath, Jagdish Tytler, Sumedhi Saini, and Mohammad Izhar Alam. Modi, if he becomes PM, will join the ranks of these and other monsters.”

Economist Murray Rothbard, who warned about dictatorship taking hold in India as early as 1975, drew conclusions which OFMI insists remain true, writing: “Indian ‘democracy’, let alone Indian liberty, has been a sham and a mockery from the beginning. Even in political form, India has suffered from its inception under the one-party rule of the Congress party, with other opposing political groupings shunted to the periphery to preserve democratic camouflage. More important, the Indian polity is one of the most thoroughly rotten in the world: a collectivist mass of statist activities, controls, subsidies, taxes, and monopolies, all superimposed upon a frozen caste system that governs in the rural villages in which most Indians continue to live.”

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