Bernie Sanders bemoans ‘failure of leadership’ over anti-Muslim violence in India


United States presidential candidate and Democratic member of the US Senate, Bernie Sanders, on Wednesday said that the selective statement of US President Donald Trump on anti-Muslim mob violence in India was a failure of leadership on human rights.

In a message shared on social networking platform Twitter, Sanders said that more than 200 million Muslims call India home and Trump terming the spread of anti-Muslim mob violence an internal matter for the authorities was a failure of leadership on his part.

“Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying, ‘That’s up to India.’ This is a failure of leadership on human rights,” he tweeted.

Sporadic violence hit parts of Delhi overnight as gangs roamed streets littered with the debris of days of sectarian riots that have killed 32 people, police said Thursday. Thousands of riot police and paramilitaries patrolled the affected northeast fringes of the Indian capital.

The unrest is the latest bout of violence over a new citizenship law championed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which triggered months of demonstrations that turned deadly in December. The law is discriminatory toward the Muslim minority of the country.

The violence in New Delhi has sharp reactions from US lawmakers soon after Trump concluded his recent India visit. Reacting to the violence, US Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal said the “deadly surge of religious intolerance in India is horrifying”.

Democratic hopeful for the US Presidency, Senator Elizabeth Warren, also tweeted out that the US had a responsibility to say that violence against peaceful protesters was never acceptable.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which advises the US government but does not set policy, voiced “grave concern” about the violence which broke out as President Donald Trump was visiting New Delhi.

“One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith,” said chairman Tony Perkins, a conservative Christian close to the Trump administration. “We urge the Indian government to take serious efforts to protect Muslims and others targeted by mob violence,” he said.

A commissioner appointed by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Anurima Bhargava, voiced alarm at reports that Delhi police “have not intervened in violent attacks against Muslims.”

“The brutal and unchecked violence growing across Delhi cannot continue,” she said. “The Indian government must take swift action to ensure the safety of all of its citizens,” she added.

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