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Democratic US lawmakers express concern over freedom of religion in India

In her remarks, Congresswoman Marie Newman alleged that in the last seven years, hundreds of Muslims just walking down the street have been attacked by vigilante mobs and lynched in India.

Published: 16th July 2021 11:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th July 2021 11:44 PM   |  A+A-

White House

White House (Photo | AP)

By PTI

WASHINGTON: Three US lawmakers from the ruling Democratic Party have expressed concern over the state of religious freedom in India, saying that the government's targeting of social and political activities, crackdown on free speech and their religiously motivated discrimination against minorities cannot be viewed in isolation.

"I remain seriously concerned about the Indian government's commitment to protecting the rights of minorities, including the 200 million Muslims in India,” Democratic Senator Ed Markey said during a panel discussion on “Religious Freedom in India: Challenges and Opportunities," organised by Indian American Muslim Council on the sidelines of the International Religious Freedom summit.

"The government's targeting of social and political activities and crackdown on free speech and their religiously motivated discrimination against minorities cannot be viewed in isolation as escalating nationalism threatens to undermine India's longstanding oath to democratic values," he said.

Markey said he would continue to stand up for these principles in the United States Senate, and will encourage India to do the same.

"India has long had an admirable commitment to pluralism. It is the world's largest democracy, whose bonds with the American people continue to grow, but the United States is right to speak up and speak out when a fellow democracy and strategic partner fails to protect the rights of all their people," he said.

In her remarks, Congresswoman Marie Newman alleged that in the last seven years, hundreds of Muslims just walking down the street have been attacked by vigilante mobs and lynched.

"It is a travesty of justice, and I am horrified by it," she said.

The Indian Government and many Indian organisations have denied these allegations.

US Government officials have said that India has a vibrant middle class and free press.

The Ministry of External Affairs has said that India's democratic and constitutional polity is complemented by an independent judiciary, a range of national and state level Human Rights Commissions that monitor violations, a free media and a vibrant and vocal civil society.

India remains committed to the promotion and protection of human rights of all its citizens, the Ministry said in a recent statement.

Newman alleged that the acts of violence are not only targeting religious minorities, but social and political activists, lawyers, journalists and students, a statement issued by the Indian American Muslim Council said.

Congressman Andy Levin, who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and is vice chair of the subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia, and nonproliferation, also expressed concern over the religious freedom in India.

"And I will hold tight to the belief that India is a democracy and can and will be a democracy for all of its people, one that embraces the human rights and dignity of every single person," he said.



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