(WASHINGTON, D.C., 3/19/2021) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez’s remarks about India’s eroding democratic values and oppression of farming protestors, Indian Muslims and in Kashmir.
Chairman Menendez expressed these concerns in a March 17 letter to U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin while addressing India’s recent purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defense system. Secretary Austin is expected to be in New Delhi from March 19-21 and meet with Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and senior national security officials.
Sen. Menendez requested Secretary Austin clarify during his trip to New Delhi that the United States’ relations with India remain contingent upon the upkeep of democratic values while citing the Indian governments’ oppressive handling of the farmer protests, the use of sedition laws, the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to disenfranchise Muslim Indian citizens, and abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir.
In his letter Chairman Menendez wrote in part:
“The Indian government’s ongoing crackdown on farmers peacefully protesting new farming laws and corresponding intimidation of journalists and government critics only underscores the deteriorating situation of democracy.
“Moreover, in recent years, rising anti-Muslim sentiment and related government actions like the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the suppression of political dialogue and arrest of political opponents following the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, and the use of sedition laws to persecute political opponents. . .”
In a statement CAIR Director of Government Affairs Department Robert McCaw said:
“CAIR welcomes and applauds Chairman Menendez for his commitment to human rights and the religious freedom of Muslims in India and Kashmir. We urge the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to hold the far-right Indian government accountable in its egregious abuse of farming protestors, journalists, and minorities, and for its oppression of Muslims throughout the country and Kashmir. The Biden administration should consider applying the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and other measures to curb India’s abuses.”
Senator Menedez’s letter indicates that sanctions against Indian still might be an option; India’s purchase of the S-400 may function as the mitigating circumstances to enact sanctions, highlighted under Section 231 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.
CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com