The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom responded in the strongest terms to the death of Tabrez Ansari, who was beaten by a mob in Jharkhand. He died four days later on Saturday June 22.
“We condemn in the strongest terms this brutal murder, in which the perpetrators reportedly forced Ansari to say Hindu chants as they beat him for hours. Ansari later died from the injuries he suffered due to this horrific attack.” Tony Perkins, the chair of USCIRF is quoted saying in a statement issued today.
“We call on the Indian government to take concrete actions that will prevent this kind of violence and intimidation by a thorough investigation of Ansari’s murder as well as the local police’s handling of the case. Lack of accountability will only encourage those who believe they can target religious minorities with impunity,” Perkins added.
After a ten-minute video went viral, showing Ansari tied to a pole and being beaten by a group of men who ordered him to shout “Jai Shri Ram”, police said they had arrested 11 people on June 25, and also suspended two police officers over their handling of the incident, Agence France Press reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) that he was “pained” by Ansari’s death, but that the state of Jharkhand (which is ruled by his party, the Bhartiya Janata Party) as a whole, cannot be painted in the same brush. .
In its most recent Annual Report released in April, USCIRF again placed India on its Tier 2 for “engaging in or tolerating religious freedom violations” that meet at least one of the elements of the “systematic, ongoing, egregious” standard used to designate “countries of particular concern,” or CPCs, under the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA).
The USCIRF is an agency established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedoms around the world. It makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress on these issues.