(TheRedWire.com) – Representative Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic representative from New York, has recently made headlines for joining a group of progressive lawmakers in announcing her intention to boycott Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s congressional joint address. In a series of tweets, Ocasio-Cortez called on her contemporaries who value freedom of speech, tolerance, and pluralism to unite with her in the boycott.
Ocasio-Cortez drew attention to Modi’s prior exclusion from the United States and cited State Department reports that provided insights into India’s historical performance in terms of religious freedoms and its ranking on the Press Freedom Index. She emphasized the significance of the joint address, describing it as one of the highest honors and invitations that the U.S. Congress can extend. Ocasio-Cortez voiced her opposition to bestowing this recognition upon individuals with profoundly concerning human rights backgrounds, especially those identified by the U.S. State Department as participants in systematic human rights violations against religious minorities and marginalized communities.
The decision made by Ocasio-Cortez to boycott Modi’s speech follows similar announcements by Representatives Ilhan Omar from Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan, who have also expressed their intention to abstain from attending. Tlaib expressed apprehensions regarding Modi’s track record of singling out Muslims and religious minorities, engaging in human rights violations, suppressing journalistic freedom, and taking anti-democratic measures. She deemed such conduct unacceptable. Omar echoed these concerns and drew attention to the repression of religious minorities, the rise of violent Hindu nationalist groups, and the targeting of journalists and human rights advocates under Modi’s government.
While Democratic lawmakers from both the Senate and House have asked Biden to address human rights issues in his meetings with Modi, the joint address is expected to be a highly anticipated event that garners significant attention. The decision by Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues to boycott the event serves as a visible expression of their concerns. It conveys a strong message regarding prioritizing human rights and democratic values in international relations.
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