On Sunday, June 23rd, the Indian government responded and dismissed the annual US report on religious freedom, which had been released two days earlier. According to Reuters, the report conducted by the US State Department pointed out that last year some members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gave some “inflammatory speeches” targeting religious minorities. The report also investigated attacks on those minorities occurring in 2018.
Thus, the report voiced concerns over the capacity and approach of the Indian government to prevent violent attacks on those belonging to Muslim minorities in the country.
On Tuesday, June 24th, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to visit India, and, in anticipation of this visit, the Indian foreign ministry has rejected the claims made in the report.
The spokesman for the foreign ministry defended the basic values governing the Indian system and society. “India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion,” said Raveesh Kumar in a statement.
14% of India’s population of 1.3 billion people are Muslims.