On Wednesday, the Indian government slammed the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for falsely criticising the country by citing fake reports that coronavirus patients were being segregated on the basis of religious identity in an Ahmedabad hospital.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs asked the USCIRF to stop adding “religious colour” to the Indian government’s efforts in fighting the Chinese pandemic.
‘USCIRF spreading misguided reports’: MEA
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a statement, “As if its peremptory commentary on religious freedom in India is not enough, the USCIRF is now spreading misguided reports on the professional medical protocols followed to deal with [the] spread of COVID-19 in India”
“It must stop adding religious colour to our national goal of fighting the pandemic and distract from larger efforts. No segregation is being done in civil hospitals on the basis of religion, as clarified by the Gujarat government,” he added.
He said no segregation of patients is being done in the civil hospital on the basis of religion as clarified by the Gujarat government. Srivastava said the USCIRF “must stop adding religious colour to our national goal of fighting the pandemic and distract from larger efforts”.
Misinformation campaign against India by USCIRF
Citing a false propaganda report by Indian Express, the USCIRF had tweeted that it was “concerned with reports of Hindu and Muslim patients separated into separate hospital wards in Gujarat. Such actions only help to further increase ongoing stigmatization of Muslims in #India and exacerbate false rumors of Muslims spreading #Covid19.”
However, responding to the misinformation campaign of the Indian Express, the Gujarat government had categorically denied the claims. The Health Department of Gujarat had also clarified that no segregation is being done in the Ahmedabad civil hospital on the basis of religion for coronavirus patients.
“Coronavirus Patients are being treated based on symptoms, severity etc. and according to treating doctors’ recommendations,” the Gujarat government Health Department had said in a statement.
USCIRF’s history of prejudice against India
It is notable here that the USCIRF has a history of fanning baseless rumours and leftist propaganda against India. They had also ranted against India’s Citizenship Amendment Act, calling it a ‘dangerous turn in the wrong direction’. The MEA had slammed its statements, asking it to stop making unwarranted comments on issues they have no locus standi and have no knowledge about.
The USCIRF is the commission that had recommended the denial of US visa to PM Modi when he was the CM of Gujarat. It had also threatened ‘sanctions’ against Home Minister Amit Shah ‘if the CAB was passed’.