New Delhi, Jun 25 : Indian officials are not sure whether the Human Rights report by the US Department of State released last week that castigates Indian government would be raised during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit beginning later Tuesday night.
"I do not know whether this issue will come up or not come up.....But it is also true that such reports come out in the US every year. This report is mandated by the US Congress," a source said here. The source maintained that "every time you ask for our comments, we will say they (the US) do not have locus standi".
"If the issue comes up then our position is very clear," the diplomatic source said. India has denied claims made in a U.S. religious freedom report that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has failed to contain violence targeting non-Hindus.
The annual International Religious Freedom Report released by US government on June 21 said that religious freedom conditions in India continued a downward trend in 2018. “Exclusionary extremist narratives” increased in recent years “including, at times, the government’s allowance and encouragement of mob violence against religious minorities that have facilitated an egregious and ongoing campaign of violence, intimidation and harassment against non-Hindu and lower-caste Hindu minorities,” the report had said.
Much to the chagrin of the pro-Hindutva BJP leadership and Modi-led dispensation, the '2018 International Religious Freedom Report' of the US government says as many as ten Indian provinces or states have the risk factors for religious minorities.
"The worsening conditions for religious freedom largely impacted ten states (Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan); the 19 remaining states remained relatively open and free for religious minorities," says the report.
Raveesh Kumar, spokesman of the External Affairs Ministry, rejected the report’s findings. "We see no locus standi for a foreign entity or government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights," Mr Kumar has said on June 23.
"India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion," he has said. BJP MP and party's media in charge had said in a statement: "The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false....Whenever needed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders have strongly deplored violence against minorities and weaker sections of the society". (UNI)