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India rejects US religious freedom report

 NEW DELHI, June 23 - India on Sunday rejected a US religious freedom report, saying it sees no locus standi for a foreign government to pronounce on the state of its citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.

In its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report, the State Department alleged on Friday 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 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 guarantees 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, Kumar asserted.

“We see no locus standi for a foreign entity/government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights,” he said.

Mandated by the Congress, the State Department in its voluminous report gives its assessment of the status of religious freedom in almost all the countries and territories of the world. – PTI

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