‘Biased and inaccurate’: India slams USCIRF’s latest observations

New Delhi: India on Thursday termed as “biased and inaccurate” the US Commission for International Religious Freedom’s latest observations claiming that religious freedom and related human rights are under threat in the country, and said the body continues to be guided by its prejudices and pursues a motivated agenda.

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The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is a Congressional-appointed body. Its recommendations are, however, not mandatory to be implemented by the US State Department.

Religious freedom and related human rights in India are under ongoing threat, the USCIRF alleged on Tuesday in an unusual year-end update of the status of its assessment of religious freedom in the country.

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Asked about the report at a media briefing here, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We consider these biased and inaccurate observations about India by USCIRF. They (USCIRF) have a tendency to consistently misrepresent facts and this shows their lack of understanding of India, our constitutional framework, plurality and our robust democratic system.” “Given its past record, we are not surprised to see that USCIRF continues to be guided by its prejudices and pursues a motivated agenda that calls into question its own credibility,” Bagchi said.

In its 2022 Annual Report earlier this year, the USCIRF had recommended that the US Department of State designate India as a “country of particular concern” for engaging in or tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious religious freedom violations, as set forth by the International Religious Freedom Act.

The US State Department has refused to incorporate the commission’s recommendations so far.

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