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Two Indian Army soldier succumb to injuries as Pak violates ceasefire in J&K's Baramulla district


Two security personnel, who were injured in a ceasefire violation by Pakistan along Line of Control in Rampur sector in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district on Friday, have succumbed to their injuries.

The ceasefire violation took place at around 3:30 pm on Friday.

Earlier on April 30, Pakistan had initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and shelling with mortars along LoC in Poonch district.

It was earlier reported that three soldiers were injured as Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Baramulla district on Friday by resorting to unprovoked firing, according to a defence spokesperson.

"On 1 May 2020, at about 15.30 hours, Pakistan initiated an unprovoked ceasefire violation (CFV) along the LoC in Rampur Sector, District Baramulla," defence spokesperson Colonel Rajesh Kalia said in a statement.

He said three soldiers were injured in the ceasefire violation.

"Indian Army is retaliating befittingly," he added.




Raipur : Chief Minister Mr. Baghel writes letter to Prime Minister, requesting to keep credit limit 6 percent and fiscal deficit 5 percent of the GSDP


Mr. Baghel informs Prime Minister about the financial problems being caused in the state due to lockdown

Chief Minister Mr. Bhupesh Baghel has written letter to Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, stating the financial problems being faced by the state during lockdown. He requested that this year the credit limit for the state should be relaxed to 6% and fiscal deficit of the state should be kept 5% of the GSDP, as a relief to distressed people in the state and to help the state arrange for more financial resources to conduct official and development works. 
Chief Minister stated in the letter to Prime Minister that due to the effective step of nationwide lockdown implemented in the state from 22 March 2020 for prevention of COVID-19 pandemic, all the economic activities across the country including Chhattisgarh have been stopped, which has caused revenue loss to the state. Complete lockdown has mostly affected the financially weaker section of the society, which includes daily wagers, labourers, small shopkeepers and most rural families. It is also the time of reaping crops. Hence, farmers are reaping crops and selling it to make their both ends meet. As this section of society constitutes major part of the Chhattisgarh’s population, it is difficult for the state to take appropriate social and financial measures to bring relief to them, without Central Government’s intervention. 

Mr. Baghel stated in the letter that all the departments of the state have been allotted budget for fiscal year 2020-21. And financial resources are required for expenditures related to basic requirements. Government of India’s Finance Ministry has approved 50% of the net credit limit i.e. Rs 5375 crores to the state for taking market loans in the first nine months of this financial year. This is insufficient for the expenses in the current situation. As significant decline in revenue collection of the state is expected this year, the state requires relaxation in the net credit limit and the fiscal deficit limit (3% of GSDP) for the state under the provisions of Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act. Chhattisgarh state has been strictly following financial discipline since the day of formation, and even at present, Chhattisgarh has the least loan pressure (19.2% of GSDP) and least interest payable (7.4% of total revenue collection)
Chief Minister stated in the letter to Prime Minister that during emergency or disaster, extraordinary measures are required. Hence, the state should be given relaxation in credit limit upto 6% of the GSDP. Also, state should be allowed to keep the fiscal deficit upto 5% of the GSDP. Other than the expense control being done in the state through various measures, these relaxations by Central Government would bring great relief to the state during this difficult time of pandemic. Chief Minister expressed hope that Central Government would consider these genuine demands of the state on a compassionate note, keeping in view the difficulties being faced by Chhattisgarh and the entire country because of this pandemic.

 



Maruti Suzuki announces zero sales for April citing lockdown


The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) on Friday said it did not sell a single unit in the domestic market last month due to coronavirus-led nationwide lockdown.

The company had zero sales in the domestic market in April 2020, MSI said in a statement.

This was because in compliance with the Government orders all production facilities were closed, it added The company, however, exported 632 units from Mundra port following resumption of port operations.

The company said the units were dispatched ensuring all safety guidelines.

 
 
Maruti Suzuki announces zero sales for April citing lockdown

Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the lockdown from March 25, 2020. The lockdown was supposed to have extended till April 14, but chief ministers across the country urged the prime minister to extend the lockdown. It is now supposed to end on May 3 i.e. on Sunday.

However, despite this, certain states are still extending the lockdown further.

Barring essential services, every thing else is shut down. People have been advised to stay at home and not step out unless it's absolutely necessary.

 
 
 



Maharashtra Day: Amid concerns over nomination to legislative council, CM Uddhav Thackeray meets Governor Koshyari


Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray paid a courtesy visit to Raj Bhavan on the occasion of 'Maharashtra Day' today and met Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

This visit comes a day Koshyari urged the Election Commission to order elections to the 9 vacant seats of the Maharashtra Legislative Council at the earliest.

This is a relief for Uddhav who was hoping to become a member of the Maharashtra Assembly by getting elected on one of the nine seats before May 28. If he fails to enter the state assembly as an MLA or MLC by then, he will have to vacate the post of the chief minister.

Political observers feel that with the Governor’s move, Thackeray’s induction is a distant possibility. The ball is now in the EC’s court, which has to consider whether the relaxed lockdown conditions are conducive for an election. In his communication, the Governor has requested the EC to soon release the poll schedule to fill up the 9 seats in the Legislative Council that have been lying vacant since April 24. This is necessary to end the current uncertainty in the state.

Earlier, Thackeray had spoken to PM Narendra Modi to highlight the situation regarding his nomination into the legislative council.




Maharashtra and Gujarat Day: When RSS supported Nehru against the formation of linguistic states


On Friday morning, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi put out two tweets congratulating both Maharashtra and Gujarat for their respective formation days.


Rahul Gandhi

@RahulGandhi
महाराष्ट्र के स्थापना दिवस पर सभी प्रदेश वासियों को मेरी हार्दिक बधाई एवं शुभकामनाएं।

 #maharashtraday

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Rahul Gandhi

@RahulGandhi
गुजरात के स्थापना दिवस पर सभी प्रदेश वासियों को मेरी हार्दिक बधाई एवं शुभकामनाएं।#GujaratFoundationDay

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While Rahul Gandhi’s tweet might be in good faith, it was his party, along with the support of the RSS that vehemently opposed the formation of both states. The Congress incidentally went back on its original promise that it would introduce linguistic states in India after India attained independence in 1947. However, Rahul Gandhi’s great grandfather Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel opposed the idea, fearing that it would affect the integrity of India. Nehru had a surprising supporter: RSS and its Chief Madhav Sadadhiv Gowalkar.

However, before we get into how Maharashtra and Gujarat had their formation days, one important incident changed Nehru’s mind. 51-year-old Telugu-speaking Potti Sreeramulu went on a hunger strike to death demanding that Telugu-speaking regions be carved out of the Madras Presidency. The Presidency comprised all of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, and parts of Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, and Lakshadweep. Potti Sreeramalu, who participated in Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt Satyagraha, died in 1952 in a fast unto death, thereby prompting the States Reorganisation Committee to recommend the creation of linguistic states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh in 1956. The Committee also recommended that Maharashtra and Gujarat stay as one state with Bombay as the capital, and the Vidarbha region stay outside Maharashtra.

Birth of the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement and Maha Gujarat Movement

In November 1955, the Lok Sabha witnessed a debate between two Maharashtrian Congressmen –SK Patil and NV Gadgil. While Patil suggested that Maharashtra be formed without Bombay, Gadgil warned of the ramifications.

Soon after, Marathi leaders such as Prabodhankar Thackeray (the father of Bal Thackeray), SM Joshi, Keshavao Jedhe, Shahi Amar Sheikh gave speeches, highlighting Marathi pride stirring the people from the region. The Left parties and trade unions then took to the streets. Mill Dock workers, led by Senapati Bapat, also went on strike. In January 1956, Nehru declared Bombay as a Union Territory, and more people took to the streets. From a week since the announcement, the union leaders called for Bombay Bandh. Morarji Desai once again issued orders for firing upon the protesters that then left 90 dead and over 400 injured.

In February 1956, the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement and the Maha Gujarat Movement started, demanding the creation of a separate Maharashtra and a separate Gujarat. However, both movements wanted Bombay as the capital city. While the Samyukta Maharashtra Movement argued that Bombay had more Marathi speaking people, the Gujarat movement said that it was because of the amount they had invested in the city. The Gujarati community then spoke to Chief Minister of Bombay State Moraji Desai, saying that Bombay should either be part of Gujarat or made into a Union Territory.

In August of that year, the Union cabinet agreed that a bigger bilingual Bombay state should be created, along with Maharashtra, Marathwada, VIdharba, Gujarat, Saurashtra, Kutch and Bombay city.

Exactly a year later, during the Bombay State elections, Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti secured 101 out of 133 seats in the western Maharashtra region and the Congress won 32 seats. The Congress met a similar fate in Gujarat, but ended up winning Bombay State and Maharashtra State, with Yashwantrao Chavan becoming the first CM of Maharashtra state. Chavan later explained to Nehru the futility of having a Bombay State, as it could be futile for the Congress in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Finally on 4 December 1959, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) passed a resolution recommending the bifurcation of the Bombay State.The Samyukta Maharashtra Samiti achieved its goal when Bombay State was reorganised on linguistic lines on 1 May 1960. TheGujarati-speaking areas of Bombay State were partitioned into the state of Gujarat. As a memorial to the martyrs of the Samyukta Maharashtra movement, Flora Fountain was renamed as Hutatma Chowk (Martyr's Square), and a memorial was erected, since it was the starting point of the agitation




State economy to be hit hard due to lockdown, says Sharad Pawar


Mumbai: Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) president Sharad Pawar, on Thursday, said that Maharashtra economy will be hit the most, as industrial and trading activities and related transactions were halted because of the CoVID-19 lockdown. He said that similar crises will prevail in various states as well as at the national level, and the revival of the economy will have to be done through dialogue.

Pawar, who had written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 25 seeking an additional grant of Rs 1 lakh crore for Maharashtra, in his web address, said that since the last 40 days, industrial and trade activities had paused in the state and had led to job loss.

He added that the state government, in its annual budget for 2020-21, had estimated revenue receipts of Rs 3,47,000 crore, but as per the revised estimates, the expected revenue shortfall would be Rs 1,40,000 crore. This is around 40 per cent of the expected revenues and will have a huge hole in the state finances. NCP chief, in his letter to the PM, brought these matters to his notice.

FPJ has reported that Pawar had also urged the PM that the centre needs to provide a two-year moratorium for the repayment of Rs 10,500 crore annually towards the National Small Savings Fund Loan by the Maharashtra government. Further, he also appealed that the centre should resort to deficit financing in the present situation, as the borrowing by the central government will be much more efficient and cheaper compared to borrowing by the states.

On the agrarian crisis, Pawar suggested a few measures like restructuring farm and crop loans and giving concessions in the payment of interest rates by farmers. The interest rate on crop loans should be brought down to zero to help peasants, he added.

Pawar also demanded steps to address the issue of unemployment resulting from the lockdown. He praised the state machinery, particularly health workers and policemen, for working hard to fight CoVID-19.

Pawar expressed concern over the spurt in coronavirus cases in Mumbai, Pune, Jalgaon, Malegaon and Aurangabad. “There are a large number of cases, especially in Mumbai and Pune, due to the high density of population. Even though the citizens want to observe social distancing, they cannot do it due to space constraints in these two cities,’’ he noted.

Pawar, however, said as the administration has launched a massive testing plan, the number is increasing. However, not all those who are tested are coronavirus patients.

The NCP chief said that he is sure that steps will be taken to resume business activities in parts of Maharashtra that are not hit by CoVID-19 soon, to bring the state’s economy back on track and restore normalcy after the lockdown ends on May 3. He stated that different decisions on movement restrictions may be taken in connection with coronavirus hotspots like Mumbai and Pune. He, however, opined that steps to relax curbs should be taken on the condition of adhering strictly to social distancing norms to keep the deadly coronavirus at bay.




UGC guidlines 2020-21: Students, even if failed in current session, should be promoted


If you thought and read only about the deadliness of the virus and sucking up of the markets... sample this...

Students whose studies got affected due to suspension of classes and other academic activities due to coronavirus and subsequent lockdown, should not be worried for having failed in exams in the current academic session.

Even if students failed in the current academic year, they will be promoted to the next semester or year, as the case may be. However, such students will have to clear the examination for the course in which he/ she has failed/ remained absent, whenever the examination is held next.

Besides, the students will be allowed to improve their grades by offering one additional opportunity to appear for the current semester course(s) in succeeding semesters/ years or through supplementary examinations.

These are the new guidelines for examinations and academic calendar for institutions of higher learning in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

The guidelines say that “Carry forward” scheme should be implemented for the subjects in which the student has failed in the current academic year in the universities and every student will be promoted to next semester/year.

The guidelines also state that the modalities for examination and other related activities be applied uniformly across all courses in a university. The students should be informed well in advance (at least one week) about the conduct of examinations and other related activities.

Regarding the requirement of minimum percentage of attendance for the students/research scholars, the period of lockdown may be treated as ‘deemed to be attended’ by all the students/ research scholars.

“The universities may adopt appropriate strategies to facilitate the UG/PG students pursuing Projects/Dissertations, in view of the prevailing circumstances. The universities may consider to assign review-based/ secondary data-based projects or software-driven projects, instead of laboratory-based experiments or field/ survey-based assignments to these students,” the guideline states.

The universities may conduct the practical examinations and Viva-Voce Examinations through Skype or other meeting apps, and in case of intermediate semesters, the practical examinations may be conducted during the ensuing semesters.

PhD viva through skype, other apps

The universities may conduct the PhD and MPhil Viva -Voce Examinations through Video Conferencing using Google, Skype, Microsoft Technologies or any other reliable and mutually convenient technology, subject to the approval of the concerned statutory authority of the university, the new UGC guidelines say.

While conducting the Viva-Voce Examination through Video Conferencing using electronic means, it may be ensured that it will be open to be attended by members of the Research Advisory Committee, all faculty members of the department, research scholars and other interested experts/ researchers, besides the Research Supervisor and Expert(s)/Examiner(s), as applicable. It is also imperative on the part of the university to maintain due record of the same, including the report signed by Expert(s)/ Examiner(s) appointed for conducting the same.

The MPhil or PhD students, whose maximum period for submission of MPhil/PhD Dissertation/ Thesis prescribed under relevant rules/ regulations/ ordinances of the concerned universities is expired/ expiring during the Corona pandemic period, may be allowed to submit their Dissertation/ Thesis, including completion of pending formalities, within six months from the date of expiry of regular prescribed period. The extension of six months may also be considered for those students who are yet to submit their Dissertation/ Thesis.

 
 
 



Irfan Khan died in Mumbai


Bollywood actor Irfan Khan has passed away.

Due to deteriorating health on Tuesday, he was admitted to the ICU of Kokilaben Hospital in Mumbai.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson for Irfan Khan issued a statement saying that Irfan Khan Mumbai has been admitted to Kokilaben Hospital due to colon infection.

No one in Irfan's family has officially said much.

When Irfan Khan told about his illness

Last year (2019), Irfan Khan returned from London after getting treatment and after returning he was undergoing treatment and routine checkup under the supervision of the doctors of Kokilaben Hospital.

It is said that his health deteriorated even during the film 'English Medium'.

In such a situation, the entire unit had to stop the shoot and when Irfan felt better, the shot was taken again. Recently Irfan Khan's mother Saeeda Begum died in Jaipur.

Irrfan could not attend his mother's last visit due to the lockdown.

It is reported that he attended the mother's funeral through video calls.

Irfan, 54, suffers from a neuroendocrine tumor. He was undergoing treatment for this disease abroad and has recently returned to Mumbai.

Irfan was diagnosed with his illness two years ago in March 2018. Irfan himself shared this news with his loved ones.

He tweeted, "Something suddenly happens in my life that takes you forward. The last few days of my life have been like this. I have a disease called neuroendocrine tumor. But, the love of the people around me and Strength has given me hope. "

Irfan Khan went to London for treatment as soon as he came to know about the illness. Irfan stayed there for about a year and then returned to India in March 2019.




Two USCIRF commissioners dissent against India report, say it's wrong to compare India with China, North Korea


Two out of three individuals, who wrote independent points in the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) India report have disagreed with the body’s assessment of India, saying that it cannot be compared with countries such as China or North Korea when it comes to violating religious freedom.

Gary L Bauer and Tenzin Dorjee have said that they have dissented from the decision made by fellow commissioners to designate India as a ‘country of particular concern.’

Bauer, who served in the Ronald Reagan administration, said that the trend line on religious freedom in India is not reassuring. “India is not the equivalent of communist China, which wages war on all faiths; nor of North Korea, a prison masquerading as a country; nor of Iran, whose Islamic extremist leaders regularly threaten to unleash a second Holocaust,” he wrote in his analysis.

 

This is his full text: I must dissent from the decision of my fellow Commissioners to recommend India, the world’s largest democracy, for designation as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC, placing India in a gallery of rogue nations in which it does not belong.

The trend line on religious freedom in India is not reassuring. But India is not the equivalent of communist China, which wages war on all faiths; nor of North Korea, a prison masquerading as a country; nor of Iran, whose Islamic extremist leaders regularly threaten to unleash a second Holocaust.

India is our ally. A young democracy, it only gained its sovereign freedom in 1947. I hope and pray India’s leaders will resist the impulse to punish or restrict any of their citizens based on faith. The United States should raise our concern over restrictions on religious liberty in all bilateral communications and negotiations with India, as allies do. I am deeply concerned that this public denunciation risks exactly the opposite outcome than the one we all desire. In conclusion, a brief word about our times. Increasingly, nation states are confronting a fundamental choice between two diametrically opposed visions of governance. One recognizes that all human beings have equal dignity, value and worth. The United States believes this is so because we are made in the image of God. Countries following this vision believe in freedom, including the most fundamental freedom of all – freedom of religion. Communist China aggressively promotes an alternative that allows some economic liberty but demands that all other loyalties of the heart and soul be replaced by loyalty to the state. I am confident that India will reject any authoritarian temptation and stand with the United States and other free nations in defense of liberty, including religious liberty

 

Dorjee, meanwhile, too, has expressed concerns about the report, saying that he dissents from the report that states that India should be designated as a ‘country of particular concern’. “India does not belong to the same category as authoritarian regimes like China and North Korea. India is the largest democratic nation in the world, where the CAA has been challenged openly by the opposition Congress Party and law makers, civil society, and various groups,” said Dorjee, a Tibetan national who has previously said he has ‘experienced full religious freedom in India as vulnerable minority’

This is his full text: I want to express my concerns about the CAA, as all persecuted religious minorities deserve the same treatment. I also dissent from the recommendation that India should be designated as a “country of particular concern,” or CPC. India does not belong to the same category as authoritarian regimes like China and North Korea. India is the largest democratic nation in the world, where the CAA has been challenged openly by the opposition Congress Party and law makers, civil society, and various groups. By and large, the press freely reported both anti-and pro-CAA voices and chief ministers of states such as Kerala decided not to implement the CAA. The Supreme Court of India has been asked to adjudicate on its constitutionality. India is a free and open democratic society that allows for all possibilities; therefore, India is not a CPC country. India is also an ancient, multifaith civilization where for the most part multiple faith groups respectfully and peacefully have co-existed for centuries. I am not oblivious to the worst interreligious conflicts and the partition of India. However, as major news sources reported, even during the violence over the CAA, Sikhs, Muslims, and Hindus protected each other’s homes and places of worship from mob violence and held interfaith ceremonies. As Tibetan refugees, we enjoyed complete religious freedom in India that is non-existent in Tibet and China. Recently, I was on a personal pilgrimage to major Buddhist holy sites in India and saw Hindus, Muslims, and other faiths enjoying religious freedom at their places of worship, shops, and homes. India and the United States are vital strategic partners. As I exit USCIRF as a Commissioner, I highly recommend constructive engagement among India, the U.S. government, and USCIRF to advance mutual interests including religious freedom and human rights.

 

Earlier, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Tuesday night released its 2020 Annual Report, documenting significant developments during 2019, including remarkable progress in Sudan and a sharp downward turn in India, and making recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad in 2020.

In the 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends 14 countries to the State Department for designation as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) because their governments engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations.” These include nine that the State Department designated as CPCs in December 2019—Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—as well as five others—India, Nigeria, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.

Incidentally, China and India are the only two countries, where commissioners have put out their individual opinions. In the case of China, both commissioners agree that the Xi Jinping-led nation needs to be on the list. The other nations such as Iran, North Korea and Pakistan don’t have an individual opinion, which could suggest that all the commissioners are united in their view of these nations.

 

 



Hindu America Foundation boss slams USCIRF report; says group held multiple hearings to perpetuate misinformation on India


The executive director of the Hindu America Foundation has slammed a report by the United States Commission of International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that has listed India in its 2020 list of nations that have seen a decline in religious freedom.

Taking to Twitter, Suhag Shukla also attacked USCIRF chairperson Tony Perkins, who also heads the Family Research Council and Southern Poverty Law Centre, as being ‘anti India’.

Claiming that Perkins hired a person from Pakistan to write an anti-India report, Shukla added that the US State Department does not take USCIRF’s report seriously, given that it is not a policy making body.

She also alleged that the Perkins-led Southern Poverty Law Centre once termed yoga as an ‘obstacle to God’ and even opposed ‘Hindu prayer in Capitol’.

This is the thread she has shared.


Suhag A. Shukla
@SuhagAShukla
@USCIRF just clubbed democratic India in with Pakistan, Saudi, Iran, China as #CPC Country of Particular Concern. 

FYI: @USCIRF Chair @tperkins heads @FRCdc--@splcenter designated hate group that calls #yoga an obstacle to God & opposed #Hindu prayer in US Capitol. 

(thread)

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Suhag A. Shukla
@SuhagAShukla
 · 10h
Replying to @SuhagAShukla
Crux of argument condemning India: #CAA, cow slaughter, Kashmir.

Note the hypocrisy:

India: CAA | US: Lautenberg
India: restricts cow slaughter | US: bans dog slaughter

Note the irony:

India: fighting terrorism in Kashmir | US has already banned most Kashmir terror groups


Suhag A. Shukla
@SuhagAShukla
We @HinduAmerican have engaged @USCIRF for years. 

Recently, @USCIRF:

-hired Pakistani activist to write anti-India report https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/us-religious-freedom-commission-outsources-its-credibility-with-attack-on-hinduism-and-india/ …
-held multiple hearings perpetuating misinformation on India
-falsely alleged Indian hospitals separate patients based on religion


US Religious Freedom Commission Outsources Its Credibility with Attack on Hinduism and India -...
This post was originally published on Medium.com. It seems now a quaint moment in recent history. When the United States Commission on International Freedom (USCIRF) was created in 1998 as...

hinduamerican.org
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Suhag A. Shukla
@SuhagAShukla
 · 10h
Replying to @SuhagAShukla
We @HinduAmerican have engaged @USCIRF for years. 

Recently, @USCIRF:

-hired Pakistani activist to write anti-India report https://www.hinduamerican.org/blog/us-religious-freedom-commission-outsources-its-credibility-with-attack-on-hinduism-and-india/ …
-held multiple hearings perpetuating misinformation on India
-falsely alleged Indian hospitals separate patients based on religion


US Religious Freedom Commission Outsources Its Credibility with Attack on Hinduism and India -...
This post was originally published on Medium.com. It seems now a quaint moment in recent history. When the United States Commission on International Freedom (USCIRF) was created in 1998 as...

hinduamerican.org

Suhag A. Shukla
@SuhagAShukla
It is clear that @USCIRF is affected by structural weakness & systemic bias that prevents it from meeting its mandate.

Note, @StateDept @SecPompeo usually ignores @uscirf recommendations, as it is not a policy-making body. We hope that continues. (end)https://medium.com/@samir_46682/uscirf-and-the-continued-funding-of-institutional-failure-d245a5d97337 …

USCIRF and the Continued Funding of Institutional Failure
This past July, with relatively little fanfare, the House Appropriations Committee passed the FY 2018 State and Foreign Operations…

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In 2017 article in Foreign Affairs Magazine titled 'How the U.S. Promotes Extremism in the Name of Religious Freedom', the author criticises the body by saying, "An inherent problem with the current system concerns the accuracy of the evidence on which USCIRF bases its conclusions. Because the commission’s mandate is to cover the entire globe, it rarely conducts original research, relying instead on reports from local and international NGOs. It then recycles these reports, without independently verifying their accuracy, and puts the U.S. government’s stamp of approval on them. Worse, the USCIRF provides no specific information on the sources of their data beyond naming NGOs and opposition media. In other words, the reader has no basis for verifying the commission’s data. A further problem with this approach is that many NGOs are highly partisan groups that make no pretense of hiding their agenda, whether it is to actively support a government or to bring it down."

Earlier, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Tuesday night released its 2020 Annual Report, documenting significant developments during 2019, including remarkable progress in Sudan and a sharp downward turn in India, and making recommendations to enhance the U.S. government’s promotion of freedom of religion or belief abroad in 2020.

In the 2020 Annual Report, USCIRF recommends 14 countries to the State Department for designation as “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) because their governments engage in or tolerate “systematic, ongoing, egregious violations.” These include nine that the State Department designated as CPCs in December 2019—Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan—as well as five others—India, Nigeria, Russia, Syria, and Vietnam.





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