India on Monday termed as unfortunate a letter written by 34 US lawmakers to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying their concern over alleged attack on religious freedom in India was based on a few incidents.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup also said if there are any such incidents of attack of minorities, which he called aberrations, they will be dealt with by internal processes which include an independent judiciary.
“It is unfortunate that these members of Congress while applauding India as a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to inclusion and tolerance have chosen to focus on just a few incidents,” he said.
Opposition parties and activists accuse the BJP-led government at the Centre of failing to rein in fringe organisations involved in attacking religious minority communities and their institutions.
Swarup said India is proud of its status as the world’s largest democracy and pointed out that the Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including minority communities.
“Aberrations, if any, are dealt with by our internal processes which include our independent judiciary, autonomous National Human Rights Commission, vigilant media, and vibrant civil society,” he said.
In their letter dated February 25, the US lawmakers urged Modi to take immediate steps to protect their fundamental rights and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We urge your government to take immediate steps to ensure that the fundamental rights of religious minorities are protected and that the perpetrators of violence are held to account,” said the lawmakers, including eight Senators.
“Of particular concern is the treatment of India’s Christian, Muslim and Sikh communities.”
Swarup also said that the government is fully committed to the Constitutional principles which underpin the nation of 1.25 billion people as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.