US report on religious freedom ‘ill-informed comments’ and ‘vote bank politics’: MEA
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Foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “There is interest on both sides to conclude the FTA at the earliest. I understand that intensive discussions are underway towards this and continuing.” | File photo: PTI

US report on religious freedom ‘ill-informed comments’ and ‘vote bank politics’: MEA

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The ministry of external affairs has reacted sharply to the US state department’s report alleging attacks on minorities in India. The ministry on Friday termed the report “ill-informed comments” by senior US officials.

The MEA released a statement saying: “It is unfortunate that vote bank politics in practiced in international relations.”

“We have noted the release of the US State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, and ill-informed comments by senior US officials. It is unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practised in international relations. We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi.

Also read: US panel lists India as ‘country of concern’ for deteriorating religious freedom

“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,” the official asserted via the statement.

Report alleges attacks on minorities

The US State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, released by secretary of state Antony Blinken, alleges that in India, attacks on minority communities, including killings, assaults and intimidation, continued throughout the year.

India had previously rejected the US religious freedom report, saying it sees no locus standi for a foreign government to pronounce on the state of its citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.

Also read: Quad: Jaishankar discusses regional & global issues with US & Japanese counterparts

In response to a query on the ‘Report on International Religious Freedom’ published by the US state department in June 2019, the Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had taken the same line, underlining that India was a vibrant democracy where the fundamental rights of all its citizens, including minorities, are protected under the Constitution.

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