The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has refuted the US State Department’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, and said that India values religious freedom and human rights.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said: “We have noted the release of the US State Department’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom, and the ill-informed comments by senior US officials. It is unfortunate that vote bank politics is being practised in international relations. We would urge that assessments based on motivated inputs and biased views be avoided.
“As a naturally pluralistic society, India values religious freedom and human rights. In our discussions with the US, we have regularly highlighted issues of concern there, including racially and ethnically motivated attacks, hate crimes and gun violence.”
The US State Department’s report describes the status of religious freedom in every country. The report covers government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and US policies to promote religious freedom around the world.
Releasing the report, US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said, “For example, in India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, we’ve seen rising attacks on people and places of worship; in Vietnam, where authorities harass members of unregistered religious communities; in Nigeria, where several state governments are using anti-defamation and blasphemy laws to punish people for expressing their beliefs.”