“Unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practiced in International relations”: India condemns US report flagging atrocities on minorities
India on Friday took strong exception to a US State Department report claiming rising attacks on people and places of worship here and termed these comments as “ill-informed.” New Delhi also said, “it is unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practiced in international politics.” The strong reaction by India’s Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) came a day after US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said there have been rising attacks on people and places of worship in India, asserting that America will continue to stand up for religious freedom around the world. He made these observations at the release of the annual International Religious Freedom report for the year 2021.
Rebutting his remarks, the MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said here on Friday, “we have noted the release of the U.S. State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom and ill-informed comments by senior U.S. officials. It is unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practiced in International relations. We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided.
“As a naturally pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights. In our discussions with the US, we have regularly highlighted issues of concern there, including racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes, and gun violence,” he asserted.
Blinken had also said people from the minority communities and women were being targeted in other Asian countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan, and China.“The United States will continue to stand up for religious freedom around the world. We’ll keep working alongside other governments, multilateral organizations, and civil society to do so, including next month at the United Kingdom’s ministerial to advance religious freedom,” Blinken told media persons.
“At its core, our work is about ensuring that all people have the freedom to pursue the spiritual tradition that most has meaning to their time on earth,” he said, noting that the report documents, how religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities are under threat in communities around the world.
“For example, in India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, we’ve seen rising attacks on people and places of worship; in Vietnam, where authorities harassed members of unregistered religious communities; in Nigeria, where several state governments are using anti-defamation and blasphemy laws to punish people for expressing their beliefs,” Blinken said.
The report on India said “attacks on members of religious minority communities, including killings, assaults, and intimidation occurred throughout the year. These included incidents of ‘cow vigilantism’ against non-Hindus based on allegations of cow slaughter or trade-in beef.” The India segment also highlights anti-conversion laws in the country, noting that 28 states have these laws, and arrests were made under them.
It also notes that several state governments announced plans to introduce anti-conversion laws. However, some state-level courts had dismissed charges, the report notes, brought against individuals allegedly converting others for the purposes of marriage.
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