The 2019 International Religious Freedom Report by the US State Department was recently made available to the public by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The report claimed that the condition of minorities was deteriorating. Today, the BJP National Media Head, Anil Baluni, issued a press release trashing the claims made in the report.
Baluni said, “The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false. On the contrary, in most of such cases, these instances are carried out as a result of local disputes and by criminal mindsets.”
Accusing the report of bias, he stated further, “Mega schemes launched and effectively implemented by the Modi government have benefited all the castes, religions and regions equally. BJP is indeed proud of its record in uplifting living standards of all poor, underprivileged sections of the society, irrespective of their faith and gender.”
“Indian people have recently reaffirmed their confidence on the development agenda of the BJP-led NDA alliance by giving Modi a massive mandate in the parliamentary election,” he added.
The US report insinuated that there was a concerted attempt to marginalize the Muslim community. “The government continued its challenge in the Supreme Court to the minority status of Muslim educational institutions, which affords them independence in hiring and curriculum decisions. Proposals to rename Indian cities with Muslim provenance continued, most notably the renaming of Allahabad to Prayagraj. Activists said these proposals were designed to erase Muslim contributions to Indian history and had led to increased communal tensions,” the report says.
“Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef,” it stated.
The report also made references to Gharwapsi and the crackdown on foreign-funded NGOs. “Forced conversions of non-Hindus to Hinduism through “homecoming” ceremonies (gharwapsi) were reported, and rules on the registration of foreign-funded nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were used discriminatorily against religious minority groups,” it said.
The claims made in the report and the consequent reply by the BJP is largely inconsequential for the relationship between the two countries and is mainly meaningless posturing by the USA. Such reports have been published against India since a long time and yet, ties between the countries have continued to strengthen.
It is one of those things that the USA does regularly to claim the moral high ground despite an overabundance of skeletons in its own closet. There is very little it could do right now about any of the claims made in the report even if they wanted to (and they don’t want to), especially since the Trump administration has started a Trade War with China.
The objectives of such reports are not to unravel some dark secrets or publish authentic truths as well, as is evidenced by the ample amount inaccuracies in it. The main objective is to fill the pockets of those who are tasked with the responsibility of creating these reports. The Americans should question their government why does it even bother to commission such reports and waste taxpayers’ money when they do not intend on doing anything about it.
At the end of the day, it’s the American version of NREGA for bureaucrats. The report mentions human rights violations in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan as well, countries which the US considers its great allies. Therefore, it’s just garbage the only appropriate place for which is the nearest dustbin.