India dismisses US religious freedom report as 'biased and misrepresentative'

The US report mentioned that there was a "concerning increase" in hate speech, anti-conversion laws, demolition of homes and places of worship for people belonging to minority groups in India. The Centre called the report "deeply biased and driven by votebank consideration".
India dismisses US religious freedom report as 'biased and misrepresentative'
Source: AP

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has strongly rebuffed the US State Department's 2023 report on international religious freedom, describing it "deeply biased" and lacking in true understanding of India's social dynamics.

The report mentioned that there was a "concerning increase" in hate speech, anti-conversion laws, demolition of homes and places of worship for people belonging to minority groups in India.

In response to the report, MEA Spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said, "We have noted the release by the US State Department of its report on international religious freedom for 2023. 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."

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India dismisses US religious freedom report as 'biased and misrepresentative'

The MEA criticised the report as being a "mix of imputations, misrepresentations, selective usage of facts, reliance on biased sources, and a one-sided projection of issues."

It further said that the report misrepresents India's constitutional provisions and laws, selectively highlights incidents to promote a preconceived narrative, and questions the legitimacy of India's legal and legislative process.

"The report has also targeted regulations that monitor the misuse of financial flows into India, suggesting that the burden of compliance is unreasonable," the MEA spokesperson noted, adding that the US itself has stricter laws and regulations and would not prescribe such solutions for itself.

Randhir Jaiswal also emphasised that human rights and respect for diversity are legitimate subjects of discussion between India and the United States. He highlighted India's ongoing efforts to address issues of hate crimes, racial attacks on Indian nationals and other minorities in the US, as well as vandalism and targeting of places of worship. However, he warned against using such dialogue as a pretext for foreign interference in internal affairs.

"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 targeting of places of worship, violence and mistreatment by law enforcement authorities, as well as according political space to advocates of extremism and terrorism abroad," Jaiswal said.

"However, such dialogue should not become a license for foreign interference in other polities," the MEA spokesperson said.

Source: India Today

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