US panel places India on 'Watch List'

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Washington, Aug 13: The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has placed India on its 'Watch List' due to the increase of communal violence against religious minorities.

USCRIF in statement said India earned the Watch List designation due to the 'disturbing increase' in communal violence against religious minorities specifically anti-Christian violence in Orissa 2008 and Gujarat riots against Muslims in 2002.

Leonard Leo, USCRIF chair said, "It is extremely disappointing that India, which has a multitude of religious communities, has done so little to protect and bring justice to its religious minorities under siege."

He also said, "Any country that is designated on the USCIRF 'Watch List' requires close monitoring due to the nature and extent of violations of religious freedom engaged in or tolerated by the government."

Other countries currently on the Commission's Watch List are Afghanistan, Belarus, Cuba, Egypt, Indonesia, Laos, the Russian Federation, Somalia, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Venezuela.

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