Delhi allows scrutiny of religious freedom
Washington, May 2: In its last days in office, the UPA government has broken with a long-standing policy of disallowing intrusive fact-finding visits from America and permitted a religious vigilante state body from the US to sit in judgement on the extent of India's religious freedom.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), a statutory body created by the US Congress and funded by the US government, announced yesterday that its members will "travel to India for the first time in June 2009".
Pending this scrutiny of the extent of religious freedom in the country, the Commission has put off its annual report on conditions in India and promised that it will only "release its report on India during this summer" after its members assess the conditions first hand.
Ever since the US Congress passed an International Religious Freedom Act 1998 and created the USCIRF, it has been trying to visit India, but New Delhi has consistently told the Commission's members that they will not be given visas for an official visit if they applied for one.