India slams US religious freedom report, calls it based on ‘misinformation, flawed understanding’

17 May, 2023 | Anupam Shrivastav

Religious freedom National

India rejected the report by US State Department on religious freedom that criticized India for alleged attacks on minorities.

The US State Department’s report on global religious freedom was rejected by India, which claimed it was based on “misinformation and flawed understanding.”

As per the statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs, spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We are aware of the release of the US State Department 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom. Regrettably, such reports continue to be based on misinformation and flawed understanding.” Bagchi further added that the strong-worded report was driven by biased and motivated US officials which only served to further damage the reports’ credibility.

“We value our partnership with the US and will continue to have frank exchanges on issues of concern to us,” the Ministry of External Affairs stated.

The remark was made in reaction to the US State Department’s 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom, which alleged Indian state governments of using  ‘high handedness’ against minorities, particularly Muslims.

What did the US religious freedom report say

“There were numerous reports during the year of violence by law enforcement authorities against members of religious minorities in multiple states, including plainclothes police in Gujarat publicly flogging four Muslim men accused of injuring Hindu worshippers during a festival in October, and the Madhya Pradesh State government bulldozing Muslim-owned homes and shops following communal violence in Khargone in April,” the US report alleged.

“In June, UN special rapporteurs on adequate housing, minority issues, and freedom of religion and belief wrote the government to express their ‘serious concerns’ about the ‘punitive’ demolitions in Khargone, which they stated were ‘ordered by local governments’ arbitrarily to punish Muslim minorities and low-income communities.”

A report drafted by citizens committee in October stated that there were “multiple instances of apparent police complicity’ in violent actions against protestors, who were mostly Muslim, in the Delhi riots in 2020,” it read.

Following the release of report, State Secretary Antony Blinken said that legal advocates and religious leaders from all of India’s numerous religious groups denounced an instance of extreme anti-Muslim speech in the city of Haridwar and urged the country to uphold its long-standing traditions of pluralism and tolerance.

A senior US State Department official responded to a media inquiry on the International Religious Freedom Report on India by saying that the official was distressed to see New Delhi’s name and to comprehend what is described in today’s report.

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