The United States report about attacks on minorities in India is “vote bank politics” in international relations, the Centre said on Friday.
The US Department of State’s Report on International Religious Freedom for 2021, which was released on Thursday, listed scores of incidents of violence against minorities. It cited instances of cow vigilantism, attacks on religious places and properties owned by Muslims and anti-conversion laws in several states of India.
In a statement on Friday, India’s foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the country values religious freedom and human rights.
He said India has noted the “ill-informed comments by senior US officials”.
While releasing the report, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke about the “rising attacks on people and places of worship” in India.
Rashad Hussain, who leads the US State Department’s efforts to monitor religious freedom around the world, added that some officials in India are “ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship” in the country.
Bagchi, in his response, said Indian officials have regularly highlighted “racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence” in the United States.
“We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided,” the statement added.
What does the US report say?
The section on India in the report said that attacks on minorities included incidents of vigilantism against non-Hindus based on allegations of cow slaughter or selling or possessing beef.
The report said that ten out of 28 states in the country have laws restricting religious conversions.
The Department of State also said that suspected militants in Jammu and Kashmir killed civilians from Hindu and Sikh minorities, leading to “widespread fear” among the communities.
It took note of reports of properties owned by Muslims, including mosques, shops and houses, having been damaged in attacks by Hindu nationalist groups.
The report made mention of incidents of hate speech against minorities, including at a conclave at Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city in December, where Hindu supremacist seer Yati Narsinghanand urged Hindus to take up weapons against Muslims.