New Delhi, June 3 (UNI): India on Friday slammed the US State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, saying that it has “ill-informed comments by senior US officials” and that it is unfortunate that votebank politics is being practiced in international relations.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, in a statement, also said that India in its discussions with the US, has been regularly highlighting “issues of concern there, including racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence”.
His statement read: “We have noted the release of the US State Department 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, and ill informed comments by senior U.S. officials. It is unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practiced in international relations. We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided. 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 response came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there have been rising incidences of attacks on people and places of worship in India and asserted that the US will continue to stand up for religious freedom around the world.
“For example, in India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, we’ve seen rising attacks on people and places of worship…,” he said at the release of the annual International Religious Freedom report on Thursday.
The US State Department in its annual report to the Congress on international religious freedom said that in India in 2021 “Attacks on members of religious minority communities, including killings, assaults, and intimidation, occurred throughout the year. These included incidents of ‘cow vigilantism’ against non-Hindus based on allegations of cow slaughter or trade in beef.”