India Dismisses US State Department Report on Religious Freedom as “Misinformation and Flawed Understanding”

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In a strong response to the US State Department’s 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom, India has rejected the findings, describing them as based on “misinformation and flawed understanding.” The Indian Ministry of External Affairs released a statement in which spokesperson Arindam Bagchi expressed regret that such reports continue to rely on inaccurate information and exhibit a biased perspective. The US report had accused various state governments in India of mistreating minorities, particularly Muslims, alleging instances of violence and discrimination. It highlighted incidents such as the public flogging of Muslim men in Gujarat and the demolition of Muslim-owned homes and shops in Madhya Pradesh following communal violence in Khargone.

The report also mentioned concerns raised by UN special rapporteurs regarding punitive demolitions that targeted Muslim minorities and low-income communities. India’s spokesperson dismissed the report as motivated and biased commentary by certain US officials, which only serves to undermine the credibility of such reports. However, he emphasized that India values its partnership with the United States and is committed to engaging in frank exchanges on matters of concern. The release of the report prompted a response from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who referred to a case of extreme hate speech against Muslims in the city of Haridwar.

He urged India to uphold its historical traditions of pluralism and tolerance, citing legal advocates and faith leaders from diverse religious communities who condemned the incident. While India acknowledges the partnership with the US, it stands firm in rejecting the allegations presented in the report. The statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs reflects India’s commitment to addressing concerns but asserts that the report’s portrayal of the situation is far from accurate. As both countries continue their dialogue, the differences in their perspectives on religious freedom will likely remain a topic of discussion.

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