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India Rejects US Report on Religious Freedom to be “Deeply Biased”

India Rejects US Report on Religious Freedom to be “Deeply Biased”

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NEW DELHI, June 28: India on Friday said the US State Department’s report on international religious Freedom for 2023, which was critical of New Delhi, was ‘deeply biased’ and was driven by votebank considerations.

The remarks were made by the external affairs ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal during the ministry’s weekly press briefing. “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,” Jaiswal said.

“We therefore reject it. The exercise itself is a mix of imputations, misrepresentations, selective usage of facts, reliance on biased sources, and a one-sided projection of issues,” Jaiswal added. Jaiswal criticized the report and called it out for its selective depiction of India’s constitutional provisions and laws, saying that it advances a ‘preconceived narrative.’

He criticised that the report questioned the validity of certain laws and regulations and the authority of legislatures to enact the laws. “The report also appears to challenge the integrity of certain legal judgments given by Indian courts,” Jaiswal said.

“The report has also targeted regulations that monitor the misuse of financial flows into India, suggesting that the burden of compliance is unreasonable,” Jaiswal said and added that the US has even stricter laws and regulations and would not recommend such solutions for itself.

Earlier this week, the US Commission of International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) released a report titled Annual Report of the US Commission of International Religious Freedom, parts of which were critical of 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,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said during the release.

Jaiswal highlighted that India has formally raised numerous issues in the US regarding hate crimes, racial attacks on Indian nationals and other minorities, vandalism and targeting of places of worship, violence and mistreatment by law enforcement, and providing political space to extremists and terrorists abroad.

(Manas Dasgupta)



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