‘Misrepresentation reached new levels’: India rebuffs US religious panel’s report
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended that India be designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC), for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations”.Updated: Apr 29, 2020 09:46 IST
India on Tuesday rejected a report by a US panel on religious freedom that said the country was violating religious freedom of minorities as “biased and tendentious.”
In its 2020 annual report, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) recommended that India be designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC), for “engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations”.
The panel cited the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which fast-tracks Indian citizenship for non-Muslim refugees fleeing persecution from neighbouring countries, and “nationwide campaigns of harassment and violence against religious minorities” as its reasons for the move.
External affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava rebuffed the report.
“We reject the observations on India in the USCIRF annual report. It’s biased and tendentious comments against India are not new. But on this occasion, its misrepresentation has reached new levels,” he said.
The watchdog has also recommended that the US government should impose targeted sanctions against Indian government agencies and officials responsible for religious freedom violations, freeze their assets in the United States and ban them from entering the country.
India, which was on the commission’s Tier 2 list of countries to be watched in 2019, was among the 14 countries that the USCIRF asked the US state department to designate as CPC over increasing assaults on religious minorities.
Nine countries—Myanmar, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan—were designated as CPCs in December 2019. Five others included India, Nigeria, Russia, Syria and Vietnam, USCIRF said.
It could not be immediately ascertained if the recommendation were binding and whether the Trump administration would indeed accept those meant for the US government.
(With inputs from agencies)