New Delhi — A report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) alleging “serious violations” of religious freedom in the nation was strongly rejected by India on May 2 as “biassed” and “motivated.”
Arindam Bagchi, a spokesman for the External Affairs Ministry, stated that the Commission keeps repeating similar statements, and India condemns the “misrepresentation of facts” that only serves to “discredit USCIRF itself.”
Additionally, he requested that USCIRF gain a deeper understanding of India, its diversity, and its democratic ethos.
“The US Commission on International Religious Freedom continues to regurgitate biassed and motivated comments about India, this time in its 2023 annual report,” he claimed.
“We reject such misrepresentation of the facts, which only serves to discredit USCIRF itself,” Mr. Bagchi continued.
“We would urge USCIRF to desist from such efforts and develop a better understanding of India, its plurality, its democratic ethos, and its constitutional mechanisms,” the official added.
The USCIRF requested that the U.S. State Department include India as a “country of particular concern” for the situation of religious freedom with a number of other countries in its yearly report on the subject.
Similar suggestions from the USCIRF to the State Department have not been followed after 2020.
The State Department is not required to follow USCIRF’s recommendations.
In the India part of its most recent study, the USCIRF claimed that in 2022, conditions for religious freedom in India will continue to deteriorate.
The U.S. Commission also urged the Biden administration to implement targeted sanctions, including the freezing of assets, against Indian government organisations and individuals accountable for “serious violations” of religious freedom in the nation.
Additionally, it suggested that Congress hold hearings on the subject of religious freedom and bring it up during bilateral meetings between the US and India.