No locus standi: India on US religious freedom report

No locus standi: India on US religious freedom report

Responding to media queries on the report, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: "India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance

India on Sunday rejected a US religious freedom report making it clear that a foreign government has no locus standi to comment on the state of Indian citizens' constitutionally protected rights.

In its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report, the State Department observed that mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018, amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef.

Responding to the media queries on the report, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar 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."

The Indian Constitution guaranteed fundamental rights to all its citizens, including its minority communities, he said.

“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 fundamental rights,” he said

"We see no locus standi for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens' constitutionally protected rights," said the foreign office spokesperson.

Mandated by the US Congress, the State Department in its report provides its assessment of the status of religious freedom in almost all the countries and territories of the world.

Releasing the report on Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said it was like a report card which tracks countries to see how well they have respected this fundamental human right.

Pompeo incidentally is scheduled to visit India on business next week as the first top US official after Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to the power with a thumping majority. Later in the week, Modi is likely to meet US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting at Osaka in Japan.

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