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‘Unfortunate vote bank politics’; India calls for US report regarding atrocities on minorities!

India slammed a US State Department report on attacks on minorities on Thursday, calling it ‘unfortunate vote bank politics in international affairs. We have observed the publishing of the United States State Department’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, as well as ill-informed remarks by senior US officials. Regrettably, vote bank politics is prevalent in international affairs. We would strongly advise against making judgments based on motivated inputs and skewed viewpoints,’ warned the Ministry of External Affairs.

According to the US State Department’s annual report to Congress on worldwide religious freedom, attacks against members of minority groups in India, including deaths, assaults, and intimidation, occurred throughout the year 2021. The report, released by Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters, provides its own viewpoint on the state and breaches of religious freedom across the world, with individual chapters on each country.

India previously rejected the US religious freedom report, claiming that a foreign government has no locus standi to pronounce on the condition of its citizens’ constitutionally protected rights. The report’s India section avoids expressing a judgment on the condition of religious minorities, instead of documenting different facets of it as reported in the Indian press and official papers. It also extensively recounts the charges of numerous non-profit organizations and minority institutions on attacks on them but is mostly mute on the outcomes of the investigations being conducted by authorities and the government’s answers.

‘Throughout the year, there were attacks on members of religious minority communities, including deaths, assaults, and intimidation.  These included ‘incidents of cow vigilantism’ against non-Hindus based on claims of cow slaughter or beef trading,’ according to the report’s India section. It does take notice of RSS chairman Mohan Bhagwat’s assertion that Hindus and Muslims in India share the same DNA and should not be separated based on religion.

‘In July, Mohan Bhagwat, the chairman of the RSS, widely regarded as the ideological father of India’s ruling party BJP, officially asserted that Hindus and Muslims in India had the same DNA and should not be divided by religion,’ according to the newspaper. ‘There will never be the supremacy of either Hindus or Muslims (in the nation); there can only be a dominance of Indians,’ Bhagwat said, adding that Muslims should not be concerned that Islam is under threat in India. He also stated that murdering non-Hindus for cow slaughter was an act against Hinduism.

According to the article, non-Hindus were detained for making statements in the media or on social media that were considered disrespectful to Hindus or Hinduism. NGOs, including faith-based organizations, have continued to criticize 2020 amendments to the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA) as restricting civil society by limiting the amount of foreign funding that NGOs, including religious organizations, could use for administrative purposes and imposing onerous oversight and certification requirements.

The administration said that the bill increased monitoring and accountability of foreign NGO financing in the nation. The FCRA licenses of 5,789 NGOs, including hundreds of faith-based organizations, lapsed when the government said the organizations did not file for renewal on time. In addition, the government suspended the FCRA licenses of 179 NGOs, including several that were faith-based, during the year, according to the study.


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