Members of a US commission, which examines the extent of religious freedom around the world, have been denied visas to enter India.
Labelled ‘disappointing’ by the US State Department, the commission had planned on travelling to India last week but were forced to cancel their plans after New Delhi failed to issue the correct paperwork.
Despite the group made up of mainly professors and leaders of non-profit groups – appointed by the President and members of Congress – the Indian Embassy said such a ‘foreign entity’ had no standing to pass judgment on the state of India’s constitutionally protected rights.
Professor of jurisprudence at Princeton, Robert George, chairs the commission. He said it was unfortunate to see the South Asian nation take such a decision.
In recent times, countries which restrict religious freedoms, such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China, have all permitted the commission to visit.
State Department spokesman John Kirby added: “We’re supportive of the commission and the important role they play in reviewing facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom around the world.”
He then went on to say: “[The United States are] disappointed by this news.”