May 29, 2003. Washington, D.C. The Indian Muslim Council – USA, a Washington based advocacy organization working to promote values of pluralism and tolerance, with particular focus on the Indian Diaspora in the United States, welcomed the appointment of Ms. Preeta Bansal to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
Ms. Bansal, who is of Indian descent and a former Solicitor General of New York State, is the first Hindu to be appointed to the commission. She was appointed by Senator Tom Daschle, the Senate Minority leader. Ms Bansal comes to this position with exemplary credentials. She has held impressive positions in the academic world, in prominent law firms, and in state administration.
Welcoming her appointment, Dr. Shaik Ubaid, President of IMC-USA, said “There are about a billion Hindus in the world and it is appropriate that there is a Hindu member on the USCIRF. The worsening human rights situation and the growing persecution of religious and ethnic minorities in India can now be better addressed by a commissioner who is familiar with India and has a track record of upholding law.”
Dr. Ubaid pointed out that Indians in the United States are worried about the increasing influence of extremist Hindutva groups. “The Hindutva groups are following a two-pronged approach in implementing their divisive and hate-based agenda. On the one hand, they are systematically destroying India’s pluralistic and tolerant ethos by targeting minorities, and on the other hand they are infiltrating institutions in the United States to whitewash these crimes and stifle international criticism,” he said.
“We do hope that USCIRF will continue its impeccable work in addressing human rights and minority issues related to India. IMC-USA continues to be eager to help USCIRF in any possible way in addressing these issues,” added Dr. Ubaid.