New Delhi : India on Sunday said that it is proud of the secular credentials that enable in uniting people belonging to diverse religions and cultures in the country.
Rejecting the latest Report on International Religious Freedom published by the United States Department of State on Friday, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that it sees “no locus standi for a foreign government” to pronounce on the state of its citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.
“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,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, responding to media queries on the report.
“The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities. It is widely acknowledged that India is a vibrant democracy where the Constitution provides protection of Religious Freedom, and where democratic governance and rule of law further promote and protect the fundamental rights,” he stressed.
“We see no locus standi for a foreign entity to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,” Kumar added.
In the report, the US State Department said that religious freedom conditions in India continued a downward trend in 2018.
“The constitution guarantees the right to religious freedom, and the nation’s independent judiciary has often provided essential protections to religious minority communities through its jurisprudence. Yet, this history of religious freedom has come under attack in recent years with the growth of exclusionary extremist narratives–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 said.
“Both public and private actors have engaged in this campaign. In 2018, approximately one-third of state governments increasingly enforced anti-conversion and/or anti-cow slaughter laws discriminatorily against non-Hindus and Dalits alike. Further, cow protection mobs engaged in violence predominantly targeting Muslims and Dalits, some of whom have been legally involved in the dairy, leather, or beef trades for generations. Mob violence was also carried out against Christians under accusations of forced or induced religious conversion,” it added. (ANI)
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