Indian Embassy in US justifies denying visa to US delegation

WASHINGTON: India has cleared the air by giving justification on to why it denied visa to a US government delegation.

Indian authorities stated that it did not see the need to grant visa to a foreign body to permit ruling on the course of religious freedom in the country.

Earlier this week, a delegation from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom had planned to leave for India on long-scheduled visit with the backing of the US State Department and the US embassy in New Delhi, but India was unable to issue the essential visas, the commission said.

We are deeply disappointed by the Indian government’s denial, in effect, of these visas, USCIRF chairman Robert George said in a statement.

As a pluralistic, non-sectarian, and democratic state, and a close partner of the United States, India should have the confidence to allow our visit, he said.

The Indian Embassy in Washington stated that it had seen the commission’s testimonial “regretting” the rejection of visa to its delegation but does not feel the the need to reassess its verdict.

There is no change in the policy of the government of India with respect to such visits, the embassy said.

The embassy maintained that “India is a vibrant pluralistic society” and its Constitution guaranteed important privileges to all its people as well as the right to freedom of religion.

We do not see the locus standi (legal standing) of a foreign entity like USCIRF to pass its judgment and comment on the state of Indian citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.

According to the newest statement on India, the commission also accepted India as a diverse, secular democracy, nonetheless blunted that the republic has long struggled to protect minority religious communities or provide justice when crimes occur, which perpetuates a climate of impunity.

The commission also distinguished that “incidents of religiously-motivated and communal violence reportedly have increased” in the meantime the current government came to power.