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India Reacts to US State Department's 'International Religious Freedom Report'

© Photo : Social MediaIndia's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
India's External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken - Sputnik India, 1920, 28.06.2024
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said this week that there was a "concerning increase in anti-conversion laws, hate speech, demolitions of homes, and places of worship for members of minority faith communities" in India.
India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has hit back at the US over the State Department’s 'International Religious Freedom Report', which accuses Indian authorities and 'Hindu nationalist' allies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of harassing Christian and Muslim minorities.
Denying the allegations, MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said that the US had no idea of the true course of affairs in India.

"As in the past, the report is "deeply biased, lacks understanding of India’s social fabric and is visibly driven by vote-bank considerations and a prescriptive outlook. We therefore reject it," Jaiswal told a news briefing in New Delhi on Friday.

He went on to describe the report as a "mix of imputations, misrepresentations and a selective usage of facts."
In addition, the diplomat stressed that the State Department has relied on "biased sources" and the report projected issues in a "one-sided manner".

"This extends even to the depiction of our Constitutional provisions and duly enacted laws of India. It has selectively picked incidents to advance a preconceived narrative as well," Jaiswal said in a detailed response.

He said that the US report questioned the validity of Indian laws and regulations, as well as the right of Indian legislatures to enact them.
Further, Jaiswal pointed out that the report challenged the integrity of some legal rulings dictated by Indian courts.

"The report also targets laws regulating financial inflows into India, suggesting that the border of reliance is unreasonable, [and it] seeks to question the need for such measures. On its own part, the United States has even more stringent measures and regulations and would surely not prescribe such solutions for itself," the MEA spokesperson claimed.

India Recalls Violations of Human Rights in US

Meanwhile, Jaiswal underscored that human rights and respect for diversity have always been a "legitimate subject of discussions" between India and the US.
The MEA official went on to remind the American authorities of human rights violations in the US.

"In 2023, India has officially taken up numerous cases in the US of hate crimes, racial attacks on Indian nationals and other minorities, vandalisation and targetting of places of worship, violence and mistreatment by law-enforcement authorities, as well as according of political space to advocates of extremism and terrorism abroad," Jaiswal recounted.

The politician warned that such conversations should not become a "license for foreign interference" into the domestic politics of either country.
Sikh separatist leader Gurpatwant Singh Pannun is in his office in New York City on Wednesday, November 29, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 18.06.2024
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