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Religious minorities, Dalits face discrimination in India: A report by US commission for International Religious Freeom

An independent American body wishes to bring into spotlight the discrimination faced by minorities and dalits in India in recent times among other things

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Washington, February 9: An independent bipartisan American body has claimed the religious minority communities and Dalits are faced with discrimination and persecution in India where social boycotts, hate, crimes and forced conversion have escalated dramatically since 2014, requesting the US to put the focus on human rights when it comes to trade and diplomatic interactions with India.

According to a report released by US Commission for International Religious Freedom that monitors violation of religious freedom abroad,”Under Congress Party and BJP-led governments, religious minority communities and Dalits, both have faced discrimination and persecution due to a combination of overly broad or ill-defined laws, an inefficient criminal justice system, and a lack of jurisprudential consistency.”

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“In particular, since 2014, hate crimes, social boycotts, assaults and forced conversion have escalated dramatically,” states the report ‘Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India’ which has been authored by Iqtidat Karamat cheema, director of Institute for Leadership and Community Development, Birmingham, England.

According to PTI, the report suggests the US Government, to place religious freedom and human rights at the heart of all trade, aid, and diplomatic relationships with India.

USCIRF Chair Thomas J Reese said,”India is a religiously diverse and democratic society with a constitution that provides legal equality for its citizens irrespective of their religion and prohibits religion-based discrimination.”

“However, the reality is far different. In fact, Indias pluralistic tradition faces serious challenges in a number of its states,” he added.

Reese mentioned, “During the past few years, religious tolerance has deteriorated and religious freedom violations have increased in some areas of India. To reverse this negative trajectory, the Indian and state governments must align their laws with both the country’s constitutional commitments and international human rights standards.”

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Running into 22 pages, the report alleges constitutional provisions and state and national laws can be found in India that does not comply with international standards of freedom of religion or belief, including Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The report also alleges concerns have been mounting about the fate of religious minorities in India following the victory of BJP in May 2014 elections.

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The author also demanded, “As feared by many faith communities across India, threats, hate crimes, social boycotts, desecration of places of worship, assaults and forced conversions led by radical Hindu nationalist movements have escalated dramatically under the BJP-led government.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

 

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)