On Sunday India rejected a U.S. State Department’s annual report on religious freedom which raised questions about the government’s inability to control violent attacks on the country’s minority Muslims.
On Tuesday while preparing for a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, India’s foreign ministry issued a stiff rejoinder to the U.S. criticism.
The ministry’s spokesman, Raveesh Kumar in a statement said “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”
On Friday the State Department released a report saying some senior officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had made “inflammatory speeches” against religious minorities last year.
India’s constitution guarantees fundamental rights and religious freedom of all citizens, including its minority communities says Kumar, Muslims make up 14 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people.
Kumar said “We see no locus standi for a foreign entity to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,”
U.S. State Department report examined attacks on minorities during 2018.
The report says. “Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumors that victims had traded or killed cows for beef”
It also noted that non-governmental organizations pointed out that the government sometimes failed to act on mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government.
Later next week, Pompeo while in New Delhi is expected to hold talks aimed at laying the ground for a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Modi during a Group of 20 summits in Japan.