India rubbishes US report on 'intolerance'

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New Delhi, May 4: The Indian government on Tuesday said it takes no cognizance of the critical report of a US government body which monitors international religious freedom.

The US report named BJP president Amit Shah, saying he was among those who backed an anti-conversion law which harasses the Christians. It also said that last year, religious intolerance in India declined and groups that targeted the minorities were "tacitly supported" by members of the BJP whp used "religiously divisive language to further inflame tensions". The report also mentioned about BJP MPs Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj for stoking fires of hatred against the Muslims.

The foreign ministry said in a statement that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) failed to show a proper understanding of India, its constitution and society.

The statement said: "India is a vibrant pluralistic society founded on strong democratic principles. The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens including the right to freedom of religion", adding that the government "does not see the locus standi of a foreign entity like USCIRF to pronounce on the state of Indian citizens' constitutionally protected rights."

India also said it does not need a US agency to either judge or decide on the religious and other freedoms it pledges to its citizens.

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