New Delhi : India on Saturday slammed the “biased and inaccurate” comments on India by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), and said the US organisation continues to “misrepresent facts time and again in its statements and reports in pursuance of its motivated agenda”, which raises concerns about its credibility and objectivity.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi in a statement, also said the comments “reflect a severe lack of understanding of India and its constitutional framework, its plurality and its democratic ethos”.
The MEA reaction followed remarks by two USCIRF officials on the arrest of activist Teesta Setalvad and Alt News co-founder Mohammed Zubair.
USCIRF Commissioner David Curry, on the arrest of Teesta Setalvad, said: “USCIRF is concerned about the Indian government’s continued repression of critical voices— especially religious minorities and those reporting on and advocating for them.”
On the arrest of Mohammed Zubair USCIRF Commissioner Stephen Schneck said: “Human rights advocates, journalists, activists, and faith leaders in India face harassment for speaking out and reporting religious freedom conditions. This is not reflective of a country with a history of democracy.”
USCIRF in its report has recommended that India be designated as a “Country of Particular Concern” for “its systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, including the repression of critical voices speaking out against these violations.”
The full MEA statement read:
“We have seen the biased and inaccurate comments on India by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
“These comments 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. Such actions only serve to strengthen concerns about the credibility and objectivity of the organization.”
The USCIRF is an “independent, bipartisan federal government entity that monitors, analyzes, and reports on threats to Religious Freedom”.