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'No Locus Standi': S Jaishankar on US International Religious Freedom Report

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made the statement in response to a question posed in the Rajya Sabha.

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India
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India on Wednesday, 4 August, rejected the United States International Religious Freedom Report for the year 2021 and said that no foreign entity or government has any locus standi to pronounce on Indian citizens’ fundamental rights.

Responding to a question raised by Trinamool Congress MP Abir Ranjan Biswas in Rajya Sabha over the government’s stand on the US report released in June, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said:

“The comments on India in this year’s report reflect a lack of understanding of India and its constitutional framework, plurality and democratic ethos, and misrepresent facts. In any case, no foreign entity or Government has any locus standi to pronounce on our citizens’ fundamental rights.”
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He added, “India is a naturally vibrant and pluralistic society, where the Constitution provides for freedom of religion, and where democratic governance and rule of law further promote and protect fundamental rights. The Government is fully committed to rights of Indian citizens enshrined in our Constitution and the laws.”

This is not the first time that India has rejected the US report on international religious freedom and has previously repeated the absence of locus standi for any foreign government to comment on the condition of its citizen’s constitutional rights.

What Does the Report Say?

While the India section of the US Religious Freedom report avoids giving any opinion on the status of religious minorities, it documents various aspects as covered in the Indian media and within official government reports.

"Attacks on members of religious minority communities, including killings, assaults, and intimidation, occurred throughout the year. These included incidents of ‘cow vigilantism' against non-Hindus based on allegations of cow slaughter or trade in beef," said the India section of the report.

It also quotes allegations of various non-profit organisations and minority institutions on attacks on them.

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