India downplays US report criticising religious freedom in India
New Delhi: India has strongly downplayed a US Congressional report on International Religious Freedom 2014 which stated that the South-East Asian country witnessed religiously motivated killings, arrests, riots and coerced religious conversions.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the report is internal to the US administration and it is widely acknowledged that the Constitution of India guarantees equal religious, social, political rights to all its citizens including minorities.
"Any abuses are handled by our internal process which includes judiciary, vibrant press, civil society, National Human Rights Commission," Swarup said.
The India section of the report, which included the UPA rule till May 26, said that in 2014, India witnessed religiously motivated killings, arrests, riots and coerced religious conversions and the police in some cases failed to respond effectively to communal violence.
It also suggested that authorities in India continued to enforce laws designed to protect "religious sentiments" which at times had the effect of limiting free expression related to religion.
Six out of 29 state governments in India enforced existing "anti-conversion" laws, said the congressionally-mandated 2014 International Religious Freedom Report released by US Secretary of State John Kerry.