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India rejects “deeply biased” US report on international religious freedom

June 28, 2024 10:02 PM IST

Ministry of External Affairs | Antony Blinken | Randhir Jaiswal | U.S. State Department | International Religious Freedom | Hate crimes | Anti-conversion laws

The Indian government has strongly rejected the U.S. State Department’s 2023 Report on International Religious Freedom, describing it as “deeply biased” and lacking in understanding of India’s social dynamics.

In a statement delivered during a weekly briefing, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal criticized the report, saying, “As in the past, the report is deeply biased, lacks an understanding of India’s social fabric, and is visibly driven by votebank considerations and a prescriptive outlook. We therefore reject it.”

Jaiswal further condemned the report’s methodology, describing it as “a mix of imputations, misrepresentations, selective usage of facts, reliance on biased sources, and a one-sided projection of issues.”

The MEA spokesperson highlighted that the report questions the validity of Indian laws and regulations, including those aimed at monitoring financial flows and ensuring compliance, which India considers essential for national security. “The report also appears to challenge the integrity of certain legal judgments given by Indian courts,” Jaiswal added.

India emphasized that while human rights and diversity remain subjects of legitimate discussion between the two nations, such dialogue should not be misconstrued as a pretext for foreign interference in domestic affairs.

Jaiswal pointed out that in 2023, India had officially raised numerous cases with the U.S. concerning hate crimes, racial attacks on Indian nationals and other minorities, vandalization of places of worship, and alleged mistreatment by law enforcement authorities.

The U.S. report, released earlier this week, expressed concerns about India’s anti-conversion laws, incidents of hate speech, and alleged demolitions of residences and religious sites belonging to minority communities.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, while releasing the report, said, “In India, we see a concerning increase in anti-conversion laws, hate speech, demolitions of homes and places of worship for members of minority faith communities.”

He noted that in the United States, there has been a significant increase in reports of hate crimes and other incidents specifically targeting Muslims and Jews.

(Inputs from ANI)

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