The Proposal and Disposal of House Resolution 417
by Adity Sharma on 06 Jan 2014 2 Comments

Western nations have shown a shocking lack of understanding when it comes to a multifaceted democracy such as India, and the ancient time-tested Hindu Dharma. This lack of knowledge is evident in school textbooks and in higher educational institutions. But recently, thanks to the tireless efforts of the Indian secular elite, fattened on an unhealthy diet of Marxism and anti-Hindu diatribe, the lack of understanding has seeped into the corridors of government.


This deliberate ignorance of India’s benevolence and tolerance towards religious minorities was on full display in the anti-India, anti-Hindu House Resolution (H. RES. 417) which was sponsored jointly by Republican Representative Joe Pitts and Democratic Representative Keith Ellison. H. Res. 417 cleverly and pretentiously commended India’s multi-cultural spirit, and called on India to respect religious minorities.


The two Congressmen have shown a consistent anti-India voting pattern. It is also noteworthy that Rep. Ellison is a Catholic-turned-Muslim. He voted against US-India nuclear cooperation and was in favor of providing Pakistan monitory assistance for economic and democratic development. Everyone knows how Pakistan spends this reckless funding. On November 13, while addressing the House of Representatives regarding the poor treatment of religious minorities in Pakistan, Ellison waxed eloquent about the plight of the Shia and Ahmadi Muslims, and only made a passing reference to Hindus. He failed to speak of the absolute intolerance and ethnic cleansing that has reduced the Hindu minority in Pakistan to less than three percent.


A perusal of H. Res. 417 reveals three disturbing assertions: Hindus are behind all riots in India; minorities have always been treated shabbily, and Hindu revivalism is evil. H. Res. 417 seems to intentionally omit attacks on Hindu shrines like Akshardham that have been targetted for being Hindu. The Resolution also snubs the finding by the Indian Supreme Court-directed Special Investigative Team (SIT) which has cleared Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi of charges of conspiracy and complicity in the Gujarat riots.


In fact, the Resolution commends the US government for denying Modi a visa in 2005 under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The two main groups opposing this Resolution are the US-India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), and the Hindu-American Foundation (HAF). HAF has asked Indian-Americans to contact Representatives and urge them not to sign H. Res. 417.


A dubious hodgepodge of non-governmental organizations such as Coalition against Genocide (CAG) and the Islamist Indian-American Muslim Council (IAMC) have suddenly emerged from the woodworks to aggressively promote this anti-India, anti-Hindu legislation. These organizations are not interested in promoting stronger bilateral relations between the US and India. Instead, CAG and IAMC have indulged in a vicious smear campaign to highlight Modi’s imaginary human rights crimes, as if repetition ad nauseam might validate the lies. CAG and IAMC bring nothing of positive value to the Indo-US strategic dialogue. Instead, they spout the same stale half-truths their Marxist counterparts in India have been peddling for decades. IAMC has actually stooped to the ignominy of hiring a lobbying firm to push the Resolution on Capital Hill.


H. Res. 417 has been set forth by the same Keith Ellison who cautioned about dragging religion into the discussions after the Boston bombings. It was Ellison again who made a Hajj pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, where women's rights are oppressed at every level, and minority rights are nonexistent. But of course, Rep. Ellison described his visit to Saudi Arabia as “transformative.” On the other hand, Mr. Ellison has no qualms at all in blaming Hindus for the religiously motivated violence in India.


Human rights in the ambit of Indo-US relations


Wrapped in a mischievous ribbon of appreciation for India’s tolerance and religious diversity, H. Res. 417 goes onto lambast everything in so many words it perfunctorily lauds in a sentence or two.


But at present, Indo-US relations have converged on geostrategic and geo-economic interests which are based upon shared democratic values. After the attacks on the World Trade Center, the United States painfully realized the not so unreal threat of Islamic fundamentalism, a menace Hindus were, and continue to be subjected to. It was partly with this realization that the US sought closer ties with India. Moreover, in coming years, the US and India will be the two biggest countries to have a bilateral alliance, of which security and defence will be the strongest pillars. This partnership can serve as a stabilizing influence in the global balance of power in the future. India is the perfect democratic counterweight to Chinese expansionism and Islamic terrorism. The United States knows, or should know that a democratic State like India is its best hope to counter the ever-increasing belligerence of China. Taking cues from anti-India elements will do little to strengthen bilateral relations.


Forcing a human rights dialogue on India could make sense if India had laws similar to those of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan. But in the present situation, the US has chosen to rely on unverified information to push forth a detrimental foreign policy agenda that will benefit neither country. H. Res. 417 makes the grave mistake.


Setting H. Res. 417 to rest


Thus far, 28 Representatives have cosponsored the Resolution, but it is predicted that it is unlikely to see floor action. But not everyone in Congress has embraced the anti-India, anti-Hindu Resolution. Eni F.H. Faleomavaega, a ranking member of the subcommittee on Asia and Pacific region, has gone on record and sharply criticized H. Res. 417 for its blatant partiality. He stated that, “The Resolution does little to praise India or strengthen US-India relations but rather focuses on the 2002 Gujarat riots some 11 years after the fact.”


The Resolution originally had 29 cosponsors, but Steve Chabot of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific region withdrew his support. Chairman Ed Royce of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs set H. Res. 417 to what might be permanent rest by stating that the Resolution runs counter to all the hard work put into making Indo-US relations healthy. On December 18, first elected Hindu-American Rep. Tulsi Gabbard expressed her opposition to H. Res. 417. On record, she stated that India has given birth to some of the world’s greatest religions, and has displayed tolerance for all religions.


No time for complacency


The hypocrisy attempted by anti-India Representatives in Congress is glaring. If more of Rep. Ellison’s ilk is allowed to represent the US government, relations with the world’s largest democracy could take a serious nosedive. The US cannot rely on Rep. Ellison’s precious and “transformative” Saudi Arabia to counter the growing jihadi threats. A State with an unwavering commitment to upholding pluralistic and democratic values would infinitely be more equipped to handle such a threat. Moreover, those who do not understand, or refuse to accept that the very nature of India’s secular and pluralistic character is attributable to Hindu Dharma, lose the right to make sanctimonious statements. No effort should be spared by Indian-Americans to defeat such legislation.



Text of H. RES. 417

Say No to H. RES. 417

Ellison’s Anti-India Voting Record

Ellison: Hajj was transformative

Faleomavaega’s Dissent to H. RES. 417

Setting the Record Straight About Prime Ministerial Candidate Narendra Modi

Rep. Gabbard Opposes H. RES. 417


The author is a student at St. John’s University School of Law in New York. Her writings have appeared in HJS, HVK, Ivarta, Beliefnet, Chakranews, and Counterpunch

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