Home / News / India rejects report by US Commission on International Religious Freedom

India’s ministry of external affairs dismissed the US government-released report on International Religious freedom, calling it “biased" and driven by a “motivated agenda". Speaking to members of the press, MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi accused the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (US CIRF) of misrepresenting facts. He went on to say that the report displayed a lack of understanding of India’s democracy and constitutional frameworks.

The US CIRF, according to its website, is an “independent, bipartisan US federal government agency created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA)". It tracks the right to freedom of belief or religion globally and makes policy recommendations to the President of the United States, the Secretary of State and US Congress.

On Tuesday, the US CIRF released an update report on the state of religious freedom in India. According to the report, “religious freedom conditions in India remained poor."

“During the year, the Indian government at the national, state, and local levels continued to promote and enforce policies, including laws targeting religious conversion, interfaith relationships, and cow slaughter, that negatively affect Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Dalits, and Adivasis (indigenous and scheduled tribal people)," the report adds.

The CIRF also goes on to accuse the Modi government of suppressing criticism through the use of harassment and other state mechanisms. Policies relating to the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) attracted particular censure.

“The manner in which government officials have enforced these policies has enabled intolerance of religious minorities and exacerbated communal divides, resulting in violence, deaths, injuries, sexual assault, destruction of property including houses of worship, arbitrary detentions, harassment including online harassment, and social boycotting of religious, scheduled caste, and tribal communities," says the report.

The report also pointed to the arrest and treatment of Mohammed Zubair and Father Stan Swamy among others as evidence of threats to religious freedom in India.

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