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A file photo of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj. Photo: Hindustan Times
A file photo of foreign minister Sushma Swaraj. Photo: Hindustan Times

India downplays criticism by US Congressional report on religious freedom

A US report said India last year witnessed 'religiously motivated killings, arrests, riots and coerced religious conversions'

New Delhi: India on Thursday downplayed criticism by a US Congressional report on religious freedom that said India last year witnessed “religiously motivated killings, arrests, riots and coerced religious conversions."

“The report is internal to the US administration. It is widely acknowledged that the Constitution of India guarantees equal religious, social, political rights to all its citizens including minorities," Indian foriegn ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said,

“Any abuses are handled by our internal process which includes judiciary, vibrant press, civil society, National Human Rights Commission," Swarup added.

US ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom David Saperstein, who released the Congressional Report on Religious Freedom 2014 overnight, said the US will encourage the Narendra Modi government to turn the ideals of “tolerance and civility" into reality across the country.

“Just after this controversy over beef incidents, the Prime Minister called for civility and tolerance between the different communities. We are going to encourage the Prime Minister and the government to take those ideals and turn them into reality all across the country," Saperstein was cited as saying.

The Indian section of the report says that in 2014, India witnessed religiously motivated killings, arrests, riots and coerced religious conversions and that the police in some cases failed to respond effectively to communal violence.

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