The Ministry of External Affairs rejected the annual report of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and questioned its credibility….reports Asian Lite News
“We have rejected the US Commission on International Religious Freedom’s annual reports in the past as well. We have serious doubts on their credibility,” said Vikas Swarup, the official spokesperson of the ministry.
“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. We take no cognizance of their report,” he added.
The report, titled “Constitutional and Legal Challenges Faced by Religious Minorities in India” and sponsored by the USCIRF, says the religious minority communities and the Dalits face discrimination and persecution in India where hate crimes, social boycotts and forced conversion have escalated dramatically since 2014.
The report has been authored by Iqtidat Karamat Cheema, who is Director for the UK-based Institute for Leadership and Community Development.
The report says that there are constitutional provisions and state and national laws in India that do not comply with international standards of freedom of religion or belief, including Article 18 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights and Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
India should also not impose Hindu personal status laws on Sikh, Buddhist and Jain communities, but instead provide them with a provision of personal status laws as per their distinct religious beliefs and practices, the report says.