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India rejects US report on religious freedom

Last updated on: June 23, 2019 12:21 IST

India on Sunday rejected the United States religious freedom report, saying it sees no locus standi for a foreign government to pronounce on the state of its citizens' constitutionally protected rights.

In its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report, the State Department alleged on Friday that mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018, amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef.

Responding to media queries on the report, ministry of external affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion."

 

The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities, he said.

It is widely acknowledged that India is a vibrant democracy where the Constitution provides protection of religious freedom, and where democratic governance and rule of law further promote and protect fundamental rights, Kumar asserted.

"We see no locus standi for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens' constitutionally protected rights," he said.

The United States' state department's 2018 International Religious Freedom Report shows clear bias against the Narendra Modi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party, the saffron party said, asserting that its leaders had strongly deplored violence against minorities and weaker sections of society.

"Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef," it added.

In a statement, BJP media head and Rajya Sabha MP Anil Baluni said, "The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false. On the contrary, in most of such cases, these instances are carried out as a result of local disputes and by (people with) criminal mindsets."

Whenever needed, Prime Minister Modi and other BJP leaders have strongly deplored violence against minorities and weaker sections of the society, he added.

Baluni said India has deep-rooted democratic institutions, including fiercely independent and pro-active judiciary, which is quite capable of handling such disputes and punish the guilty.

Unfortunately, this fact is completely ignored in this report, he said, adding that the Bharatiya Janata Party under the leadership of Modi believes in "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas" (With all, development for all).

"Mega schemes launched and effectively implemented by the Modi government have benefited all the castes, religions and regions equally. BJP is indeed proud of its record in uplifting living standards of all poor, underprivileged sections of the society, irrespective of their faith and gender," he said in the statement.

Indian people have recently reaffirmed their confidence on the development agenda of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance by giving Modi a massive mandate in the parliamentary election, he said.

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