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“Biased Sources, Selective Facts”: India On US Religious Freedom Report

India has called the US State Department’s report on religious freedom a “deeply biased” one that “is visibly driven by vote bank considerations and a prescriptive outlook”.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal told reporters the report also lacks an understanding of India’s social fabric, and selectively picked incidents to advance a preconceived narrative as well.

“… As in the past, the report is deeply biased… The exercise (US report) itself is a mix of imputations, misrepresentations, selective usage of facts, reliance on biased sources, and a one-sided projection of issues,” Mr Jaiswal said.

“This extends even to the depiction of our constitutional provisions and duly enacted laws of India… In some cases, the very validity of laws and regulations are questioned by the report, as are the right of legislatures to enact them,” he said.

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

The report on India, released on Wednesday, alleged violent attacks on minority groups in India. It cited violence in Manipur that started in May 2023.

The US State Department report quoted Churachandpur district-based Kuki group Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum as saying 253 churches were burned down in Manipur. The Meitei community also claims hundreds of temples were destroyed.

The MEA spokesperson said human rights and respect for diversity have been and remain a legitimate subject of discussion between India and the US.

In 2023, India had officially taken up numerous cases in the US of hate crimes, racial attacks on Indian nationals and other minorities, vandalization and targeting of places of worship, violence and mistreatment by law enforcement authorities, as well as “giving political space to advocates of extremism and terrorism abroad”.

“However, such dialogue should not become a license for foreign interference in other polities,” the spokesperson said.

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Source: NDTV

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