India criticises USCIRF report, calls it misrepresentation of facts

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Commission continues to regurgitate such comments and India rejects the "misrepresentation of facts" which only serves to "discredit USCIRF itself"

Updated - May 03, 2023 07:26 am IST

Published - May 03, 2023 03:14 am IST - New Delhi

 Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs. File.

Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs. File. | Photo Credit: PTI

India on May 2 categorically rejected as "biased" and "motivated" a report by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) that alleged "severe violations" of religious freedom in the country.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said the Commission continues to regurgitate such comments and India rejects the "misrepresentation of facts" which only serves to "discredit USCIRF itself".

He also asked USCIRF to develop a better understanding of India, its plurality and its democratic ethos.

Also read | India, again, ‘Country of Particular Concern’ on religious freedom grounds, says U.S. Commission

"The US Commission on International Religious Freedom continues to regurgitate biased and motivated comments about India, this time in its 2023 annual report," he said.

"We reject such misrepresentation of facts which only serves to discredit USCIRF itself," Mr. Bagchi added.

"We would urge USCIRF to desist from such efforts and develop a better understanding of India, its plurality, its democratic ethos and its constitutional mechanisms," he said.

In its annual report on religious freedom, the USCIRF asked the U.S. State Department to designate India as a "country of particular concern" on the status of religious freedom along with several other nations.

The USCIRF has been making similar recommendations to the State Department since 2020, which have not been accepted.

The recommendations of USCIRF are not mandatory for the State Department.

In its India section of the latest report, the USCIRF alleged that in 2022, religious freedom conditions in India continued to worsen.

The U.S. Commission also urged the Biden administration to impose targeted sanctions on Indian government agencies and officials responsible for “severe violations” of religious freedom in the country by freezing their assets.

It also recommended that Congress raise the issue of religious freedom during US-India bilateral meetings and hold hearings on it.

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