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'US religious freedom report based on motivated inputs': India

India values religious freedom and human rights, MEA spokesperson said

hijab-protest-pti Representational image | PTI

Taking strong exception to a recent report by the US Department of State on religious freedom in India, the Ministry of External Affairs said it was based on motivated inputs and biased views.

Responding sharply to accusations of discrimination against minorities in India in the '2021 Report on International Religious Freedom' by the Office of International Religious Freedom at Large in the US, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said in a release on Friday that India has noted the release of the report and ill-informed comments made by senior US 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,” MEA said in the release.

“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.”

According to the US Department of State website, "the annual report to Congress on International Religious Freedom – the International Religious Freedom Report – describes the status of religious freedom in every country. The report covers government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and U.S. policies to promote religious freedom around the world. The U.S. Department of State submits the reports in accordance with the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998."

In his remarks after releasing the report, Secretary of State Antony J.Blinken said, “In India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, we have seen rising attacks on people and places of worship.”

Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain, in his remarks on the report, said, “As the Secretary stated, in India, some officials are ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship.”

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