US report on Religious Freedom: America has no business to interfere in the internal affairs of India – II

Lalit Shastri

India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar

On June 1, days before Michael R Pompeo, the US Secretary of State released the “2019 Report on International Religious Freedom”, India’s Minister for External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar had informed BJP MP, Nishikant Dubey that India had denied visa to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) teams that had sought to visit India in connection with issues related to religious freedom as the Indian Government did not see the locus standi of a foreign entity like USCIRF to pronounce on the state of Indian citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.

on June 10, the blatant bias of the US Department of State and its agency, the Office of International Religious Freedom, got reflected by the reckless inclusion of unverified statements incorporated in the “2019 Report on International Religious Freedom: India”. The US Department of State without verifying information went ahead and put in public domain inputs on face value obtained from organisations like Amnesty International, Hate Crime Watch, AsiaNews, persecution.org, Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), and a horde of other agencies. While reiterating that the US has no business to interfere in the internal affairs of India by resorting to publishing unverified statements in connection with religious freedom, it is also necessary to question why the US State Department has chosen to mention only at one place, obviously for the sake of credibility, “Government and media reported there were incidents of violence and intimidation carried out by militants”. The report goes on to add, in November the government told parliament that 20 persons, including 17 civilians and three security personnel, were killed in terror-related incidents in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5. On November 21, Home Minister Shah told the media, “Not a single person has died by police firing” in Jammu and Kashmir.”

The US Department of State will have to answer why while crossing the limit and questioning India’s record when it comes to protecting the Constitutional rights of the people, it has turned a blind eye to fatal attacks and threats by Pakistan sponsored terrorists and Mujahideen groups targeting Hindus and the Hindu pilgrims in Kashmir during the period in question. Violent attacks on Hindus in other parts of the country have also remained untouched in the US Report.

On February 14, 2019, a terror attack was carried out in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir by a suicide bomber – one of those Pak trained terrorists, who call themselves mujahideen – resulting in the death of 40 CRPF personnel. The suicide bomber, who was identified as Jaish-e-Mohammad’s Adil Ahmed Dar, rammed his vehicle loaded with explosives into a bus with the CRPF convoy. Why this terrorist act, perpetuated by radicalised Islamists, is not a concern of the US that preaches religious freedom.

The lopsided projections make the US bias explicit.

Text of India’s Minister for External Affairs, Dr S Jaishankar’s letter to BJP MP Nishikant Dubey

“I write with reference to an issue raised by you during the Zero Hour in Lok Sabha on 11 December 2019 regarding USCIRF’s observations that called upon the US Government to consider sanctions against Honble Union Minister of Home Affairs. Shri Amit Shah. if the CAB was passed by both Houses our Parliament.

  1. I appreciate your concern on this matter and would like to draw your attention to MEA’s response on this matter on 10 December 2019 which rejected USCIRF statement as inaccurate and unwarranted. Our response also mentioned that USCIRF had chosen to be guided only by its prejudices and biases on a matter on which it has little knowledge and no locus standi.
  2. USCIRF has been known to make prejudiced, inaccurate, and misleading observations regarding the state of religious freedom in India. We do not take cognizance of these pronouncements and have repudiated such attempts to misrepresent information related to India. We have also denied visa to USCIRF teams that have sought to visit India in connection with issues related to religious freedom. as we do not see the locus standi of a foreign entity like USCIRF to pronounce on the state of Indian citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.
  3. I would once again like to assure you that we will not accept any external interference or pronouncement on matters related to our sovereignty and the fundamental rights of our citizens that are guaranteed by the Constitution.”

Concluded

Check: US report on Religious Freedom: America has no business to interfere in the internal affairs of India

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