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US panel comments on India’s ‘repression of critical voices’ are biased, says foreign ministry

US panel comments on India’s ‘repression of critical voices’ are biased, says foreign ministry

The Union government on Saturday said that the comments of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, or USCIRF, about India were biased and inaccurate, PTI reported.

USCIRF Commissioner David Curry on Friday said that the organisation was concerned about the Indian government’s “continued repression of critical voices especially religious minorities and those reporting on and advocating for them”.

On Thursday, US Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain cited a civil society organisation’s findings to state that India was at high risk of mass killings.

On Saturday, Union Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that USCIRF’s views reflect a “severe lack of understanding” of India and its constitutional framework, its plurality and its democratic ethos.

“Regrettably, USCIRF continues to misrepresent facts time and again in its statements and reports in pursuance of its motivated agenda,” he said. “Such actions only serve to strengthen concerns about the credibility and objectivity of the organisation.”

In April, USCIRF had asked the US government to designate India as a “country of particular concern” for engaging in or tolerating systematic violations of religious freedom. This is the third year in a row that it has made such a recommendation.

On June 23, US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar had cited the report while introducing a resolution in the House of Representatives criticising...

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