New Delhi–India on Sunday rejected a US State Department report which made certain critical comments regarding the status of minorities in the country, saying it has “no locus standi” to “pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally-protected rights”.
In response to a query on the State Department’s latest ‘Report on International Religious Freedom’, which says that mob attacks against the minority communities continued in India in 2018, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar underlined that India is a “vibrant democracy” with constitutionally-protected fundamental rights of all its citizens, including minorities.
“We see no locus standi for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally-protected rights,” he said.
Significantly, the report was released just ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to India from June 25.
“India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a long-standing commitment to tolerance and inclusion.
“The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities,” the MEA spokesperson asserted.
“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 State Department report, released on June 21, alleged that some senior officials in the ruling BJP made inflammatory speeches against the minority communities.
“Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef,” it also said.