India Denounces US Report on Religious Freedom

India has denounced Washington’s annual global report on religious freedom published on Thursday for its criticism of India for allegedly supporting attacks on minority worshipers.  

New Delhi’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that the senior US officials had made “ill-informed” and “biased” comments coinciding with the report’s publication. 

“As a naturally pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights,” Bagchi said in a statement

During the report’s launch, US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom Rashad Hussain said that “in India, some officials are ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship.” 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also said that the report showed religious freedom and the rights of religious minorities were under threat around the world and cited India as an 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,” Blinken said. 

The 2021 global religious freedom report said attacks – including intimidation, assaults, and killings – on minority communities happened last year in India.  

Critics have also called the Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi discriminatory for enacting pro-Hindu laws or laws against minority religions. 

The report has also documented incendiary comments by Indian public officials and accounts of discrimination against Muslims and Christians in India. 

Previously, New Delhi has routinely denounced the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which has also repeatedly recommended India for blacklisting. 

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