Appeal against Jeopardizing Indo-American Relationship

via INDIAN AMERICAN INTELLECTUALS FORUM published on May 30, 2009

Hon. President Obama:

We are a group of people organized and existing under the laws of the State of New York .  Our aim is to strengthen and solidify Indo-American relationship.

It has been reported in media that United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (“USCIRF”)  would be visiting India on June 15, 2009 to closely scrutinize the religious freedom in India , particularly in Gujarat and Orissa.

It is axiomatic that  China and Iran are the worst violators of religious freedom.  Religious freedom is nonexistent in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Bangladesh,  and other Islamic nations.  Sudan is indulging in egregious violation of religious freedom.  Nigeria is one of the world’s worst abuser of religious freedom.

 

It is unfathomable and incomprehensive to figure out as to why USCIRF is going to India , the largest democratic country in the world having independent judicial systems and statutorily constituted Human Rights Commission to take care of human rights abuses of its citizens.

Improvement of our relationship with all the countries is the cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy under your administration.  On one hand we have been trying to repair our relationship with all the nations of the world, particularly Moslem word ruled by religious bigots as kings and  dictators, and on the other hand we are jeopardizing our relationship with the largest democracy in the world by sending a quasi-government body to investigate violation of religious freedom in Gujarat and Orissa.  We believe that your decision to send USCIRF to India is not only unfair and unjustified but also illogical, inconsistent and injudicious.  We also feel that it impinges on India ’s sovereignty and could be construed as an undue interference in India ’s internal affairs.

As you are well aware that staff members of this Commission are government employees. We are afraid that Indian people as a whole will feel deeply offended when they would come to know that a foreign government agency funded by U.S. administration has been sent to India with a pre-conceived agenda to malign them, degrade them and tarnish India’s image in the world.    

While all over the word, particularly in the arc extending from Cairo to Jakarta , Islamists are chanting “Death to America ”, India , besides Israel ,  is the only  credible bastion of democracy and a reliable ally, where America is held in high esteem by more than 70% Indians.  By sending a Government funded body to India to investigate religious rights violation, we would be sending a wrong message to Indian people.  By casting aspersions on the integrity and governing system we could undermine Indo-American relationship beyond repair.

We should also note India is a very ancient country.  Indian people are proud of their more than 5000 years of civilization,  culture and philosophy.  A country of the size of  India cannot be expected to be subservient to any other country.  It would be in our interest to treat India on par with Britain , France , Germany , Russia and China  and not like Vietnam , Iraq , Iran , Pakistan , Cuba or Venezuela .

Therefore,  we request you to kindly ponder over your decision and stop sending USCIRF to India .

Respectfully yours,
Narain Kataria
President

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