Taking note of the alleged attacks and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities in India, an official US government report on Wednesday emphasised the need to ensure full protection to minorities in the country as guaranteed under the Constitution.
The ‘2019 International Religious Freedom Report’, which is mandated by the US Congress, documents significant events of violation of religious freedom and was released by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department.
The Indian government has previously rejected the report by asserting that there is no locus standi for a foreign government to comment on the state of its citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.
News agency PTI reported that the India section of the report further says that the US government officials underscored the importance of respecting religious freedom and promoting tolerance and mutual respect with the ruling and opposition parties, civil society and religious freedom activists, and religious leaders belonging to various faith communities.
In October last year, the Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom, in meetings with senior government officials, raised concerns over violence and discrimination against religious and ethnic minorities, including communal violence, the report said.
The report also takes cognisance of the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir last August and the parliamentary approval of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December as major highlights for India last year.
“On December 22, Modi disavowed any discussion of implementing the NRC nationwide, including earlier comments from Home Minister Amit Shah that a nationwide NRC should be in place so, we will detect and deport every infiltrator from our motherland,” the report said.
Some officials of the Hindu-majority parties, including from the ruling BJP, made inflammatory public remarks or social media posts against minority communities, the report alleged.
“Authorities often failed to prosecute perpetrators of such ‘cow vigilantism,’ which included killings, mob violence, and intimidation. According to some NGOs, authorities often protected perpetrators from prosecution and filed charges against victims,” it added.