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Release of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is a mistake, says US Ambassador to India

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The release of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack mastermind of Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi is a mistake, said  US Ambassador to India Richard Verma on Friday. He also said that US has already raised this issue with Pakistan.

Talking about the Pakistan government’s decision to release Lakhi, Verma told a news channel, “We have shared our concern about this issue. We have raised it with the Pakistani government and we have been very clear that the perpetrators of those in the attacks of Mumbai have to be brought to justice.”

“The release of Lakhvi is a mistake,” he said.

On being asked about selling weapons worth billion dollars to Pakistan, he said that the aid is meant to curb terrorism in Pakistan.

“It also provides them the tools to combat this dangerous insurgency. But we also have to communicate our differences when we have them crack down on safe havens. The president (Barack Obama) has been very impelling on that and to crack down on the perpetrators and to hold them accountable will continue to erase them,” the Ambassador said.

Lakhvi, along with six other suspects, was in detention since February 2009 over charges of “facilitating” the Mumbai attack before he was released by Pakistani court.

The six other men facing trial in Adiala Jail for their alleged involvement in the 26/11 terror attack are: Hammad Amin Sadiq, Shahid Jamil Riaz, Younas Anjum, Jamil Ahmed, Mazhar Iqbal and Abdul Majid.

Lakhvi is the operational head of the banned Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT) that has been carrying out militant activities in India.

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US Commission Urges India to Take Steps to Resolve Communal Riots in New Delhi

US Commission Demands India Act After Religious Riots

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New Delhi Riots
A resident look at burnt-out and damaged residential premises and shops following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India's citizenship law, in New Delhi. VOA

A U.S. government commission on Wednesday faulted India’s response to deadly communal riots in New Delhi and urged the government to take swift action to protect the Muslim minority.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the U.S. government but does not set policy, voiced “grave concern” about the violence which broke out as President Donald Trump was visiting.

“One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith,” said chairman Tony Perkins, a conservative Christian close to the Trump administration. “We urge the Indian government to take serious efforts to protect Muslims and others targeted by mob violence,” he said in a statement.

Anurima Bhargava, a commissioner appointed by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, voiced alarm at reports that Delhi police “have not intervened in violent attacks against Muslims.” “The brutal and unchecked violence growing across Delhi cannot continue,” she said. “The Indian government must take swift action to ensure the safety of all of its citizens.”

New Delhi Riots
Firefighters stand near a fire rescue vehicle as they douse burnt-out tyre market premises following clashes between people supporting and opposing a contentious amendment to India’s citizenship law, in New Delhi. VOA

The criticism stands in contrast to the reticence of elected U.S. leaders. Trump, asked at a news conference in Delhi about the violence, said the issue was “up to India” and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “incredible” statements on religious freedom.

The clashes in Delhi, which have left at least 27 people dead, were triggered by protests against a citizenship law seen by critics as anti-Muslim and part of Modi’s Hindu nationalist agenda. Modi has called for calm, although witnesses said police did little to stop Hindu mobs.

His government has previously vowed to weed out “infiltrators” from India, with Home Minister Amit Shah likening undocumented immigrants to “termites. The government says the citizenship law does not target minorities but instead ensures protection for non-Muslims persecuted in neighboring countries.

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The Indian foreign ministry previously reprimanded the U.S. Commission for International Religious Freedom for denouncing the citizenship law. The commission also plans a public hearing next week on how citizenship laws, including in India and Myanmar, are used to target religious minorities. (VOA)