No locus standi: India rejects US report on religious freedom

Last Updated: Sunday, 23 June 2019 (11:55 IST)
New Delhi: Two days before the US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo arrives India on a three-day crucial visit, India on Sunday firmly hit out at the American administration and said there is “no locus standi for a foreign entity or government” to pronounce views on Indian citizens.
 
“We see no locus standi for a foreign entity or government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,” MEA spokesman Raveesh Kumar said in reply to media queries on the latest Report on International published by the United States Department of State.
 
“India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion. The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities,” Mr Kumar said.
 
The MEA spokesman’s remarks came a day after the ruling BJP on Saturday described the US State department’s  ‘2018 International Religious Freedom Report’ as a clear case of “bias against the Modi government and BJP”. 
 
In a statement, party’s media in charge Anil Baluni has said: “The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false”.
 
Mr Baluni, also a Rajya Sabha lawmaker, further said -  in most cases of such violence, these instances are carried out as a result of “local disputes and by criminal mindsets”.
 
“Whenever needed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP leaders have strongly deplored violence against minorities and weaker sections of the society,” the BJP leader has said.
 
On Sunday, MEA spokesman further maintained: “It is widely acknowledged that India is a vibrant democracy where the Constitution provides protection of religious freedom, and where democratic governance and rule of law further promote and protect the fundamental rights”.
 
The US report, released on June 21, alleged that - “Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year (2018) amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef”.
 
US Secretary of State Pompeo is arriving India on June 25, Tuesday. The visit is being largely seen as preparing ground for the possible Narendra Modi-US President Donald Trump bilateral engagement at Osaka in Japan on the sidelines of G20 Summit later this month. (UNI)