India slams ‘deeply biased’ US religious freedom report

New Delhi: India on Friday slammed the US State Department’s International Religious Freedom report for 2023, calling it a “deeply biased” document “visibly driven by vote bank considerations and a prescriptive outlook”.

“As in the past, the report is deeply biased, lacks understanding of India’s social fabric, and is visibly driven by vote bank considerations and a prescriptive outlook. We therefore reject the report. The exercise itself is a mix of imputations, misrepresentations, selective usage of facts, reliance on biased sources, and a one-sided projection of issues,” Randhir Jaiswal, spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs, said during the weekly MEA briefing on Friday.

The report presents a one-sided projection of issues, extending even to the misrepresentation of India’s constitutional provisions and duly enacted laws, he said.

“It selectively picks incidents to advance a preconceived narrative, questioning the validity of laws and regulations enacted by the Indian legislators,” the MEA spokesperson said.

The report released on Wednesday alleges violent attacks on minority groups in India, and cites the violence in Manipur that broke out in May 2023.

“The report appears to be challenging the integrity of certain legal judgments given by Indian courts. It targets regulations that monitor the misuse of financial flows into India, suggesting that the burden of compliance is unreasonable. The US has even more stringent laws and regulations and would surely not prescribe such solutions for itself,” Jaiswal said.

“We emphasise that human rights and respect for diversity are legitimate subjects of discussion between India and the United States. However, such dialogues should not become a licence for foreign interference in other polities,” he added.

To recall, in 2023, the Indian government officially took up numerous cases in the US involving 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 the awarding of political space to the advocates of extremism and terrorism abroad. – IANS

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