Government rejects US religious freedom report criticizing India for ‘attacks’ on minorities

India on Tuesday welcomed the US State Department’s 2022 report on international religious freedom. rejected the report, calling it “flawed”, “motivated” and “biased”. This is not the first time that India has received scathing reports from the US about the condition of minorities in the country.

Responding to the report, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a statement on Tuesday, “We are aware of the release of the US State Department’s 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom. Sadly, reports like this continue to be based on it.” Misinformation and flawed understanding.”

“The motivated and biased remarks by some US officials only serve to undermine the credibility of these reports. We value our partnership with the United States and will continue to have open exchanges on issues of concern to us.” The religious freedom report was released ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first state visit to the US next month.

What does the report say?

On Monday, Rashad Hussain, ambassador at large for the International Religious Freedom Office, told a news conference that “many governments, including Russia, India, China and Saudi Arabia, continue to freely target members of faith communities within their borders”. .

In fact, the report on India has been quite harsh on the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been referred to almost 28 times. The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) was mentioned 24 times and the Bajrang Dal seven times in the report.

It also documented alleged hate speeches and inflammatory or divisive statements made by BJP leaders across the country.

“BJP state politician Haribhushan Thakur Bachaul said Muslims should be set on fire; Former Kerala MLA PC George encourages Hindus and Christians not to eat in restaurants run by Muslims; And former BJP MLA from Rajasthan state Gyan Dev Ahuja encouraged to kill Hindus The report said that Muslims are suspected of cow slaughter.

“In June, violent protests and incidents of arson were reported in several parts of the country following televised comments about the Prophet Muhammad by Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal, spokespeople for the country’s ruling BJP, which were allegedly perpetrated by Muslims. was widely seen as offensive.”

The report also mentions Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s public meeting in Hyderabad, where he promised to end employment and educational quotas for religious minorities in Telangana if the BJP is voted to power in the state assembly elections due in late 2023. The vote was taken.

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Even the central government questioned the credibility of the report, names of people like Mohammad Zubair, Bilkis Bano, Umar Khalid also came up in the report. The report details all cases of alleged hate crimes against people from all communities other than minorities only.

The report said, “On June 27, police arrested journalist Mohammad Zubair, co-founder of fact-checking website Alt News, for a tweet he posted in 2018, saying police had ‘intentionally insulted Hindus’. ‘ done.”

On 15 August, 11 men convicted of raping Muslim woman Bilkis Bano and killing 14 members of her family in 2002 were released in Gujarat after serving 15 years in prison.

Congress-mandated annual ‘On International Religious Freedom’ by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken Report’ was released, documenting the state of religious freedom in countries around the world.

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