भारत में धार्मिक समूहों, ईसाइयों, मुस्लिमों, सिखों, हिंदू दलितों और अन्य समुदायों के ख़िलाफ़ लक्षित हमले हो रहे हैं : अमेरिकी रिपोर्ट पढ़ें!

अमेरिकी विदेश विभाग ने एक रिपोर्ट जारी कर भारत में अंतरराष्ट्रीय धार्मिक स्वतंत्रता को लेकर कुछ आरोप लगाए थे, अब इन आरोपों को भारत ने सिरे से खारिज कर दिया है और रिपोर्ट को प्रेरित और पक्षपातपूर्ण बताया है। विदेश मंत्रालय के प्रवक्ता अरिंदम बागची ने कहा कि ऐसी खबरें गलत सूचना और त्रुटिपूर्ण समझ पर आधारित होती हैं।

अरिंदम बागची ने कहा कि हमें अंतरराष्ट्रीय धार्मिक स्वतंत्रता पर अमेरिकी विदेश विभाग की 2022 की रिपोर्ट जारी होने के बारे में जानकारी है। अफसोस की बात है कि इस तरह की रिपोर्ट्स अब भी गलत सूचना और गलत समझ पर आधारित हैं। अमेरिकी विदेश विभाग ने मीडिया के साथ रिपोर्ट को लेकर एक बातचीत में भारत को लेकर कहा है कि यहां धार्मिक अल्पसंख्यकों के साथ अत्याचार जारी है और अमेरिकी सरकार इस बारे में भारत सरकार को आगाह करना जारी रखेगी।

ANI Digital
US report on religious freedom based on “misinformation, flawed understanding”: India

We are aware of the release of the U.S. State Department 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom. Regrettably, such reports continue to be based on misinformation and flawed understanding.
Motivated and biased commentary by some US officials only serves to undermine…

उन्होंने कहा कि कुछ अमेरिकी अधिकारियों द्वारा प्रेरित और पक्षपाती टिप्पणी केवल इन रिपोर्टों की विश्वसनीयता को कम करने का काम करती हैं। हम अमेरिका के साथ अपनी साझेदारी को महत्व देते हैं और हमा चिंता के मुद्दों पर खुलकर बात जारी रखेंगे। दुनिया भर के देशों में धार्मिक स्वतंत्रता की स्थिति का दस्तावेजीकरण करने वाली रिपोर्ट सोमवार को जारी की गई।

बता दें कि मीडिया से बातचीत के दौरान पब्लिक ब्रॉडकास्टिंग सर्विस की पत्रकार जेबा वारसी ने विदेश विभाग के अधिकारी से पूछा कि रिपोर्ट में भारत को लेकर क्या जानकारियां हैं। जवाब में अधिकारी ने कहा था कि भारत ऐसा देश है जो इस मुद्दे पर लगातार चिंता का कारण बना रहा है। ताजा रिपोर्ट में भारत को लेकर सूचनाएं दुखी करने वाली हैं। वहां धार्मिक समूहों, ईसाइयों, मुस्लिमों, सिखों, हिंदू दलितों और अन्य देशज समुदायों के खिलाफ लक्षित हमले हो रहे हैं।

रिपोर्ट में दुनियाभर के करीब 200 देशों और क्षेत्रों में धार्मिक स्वतंत्रता की स्थिति के बारे में एक तथ्य-आधारित, व्यापक दृष्टिकोण प्रदान करने का दावा किया जाता है।

Suhasini Haidar
May 15
1 month before it will host PM Modi to US for a State Visit, US State Department releases a scathing report on religious freedom, refers to ruling party for more than 20 incidents of violence, intimidation of minorities in India… Awaiting MEA reaction

Ashok Swain
“Attacks on members of religious minority communities, including killings, assaults, and intimidation, occurred in various states throughout the year.” – The 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom by the US on India

US religious freedom report notes attack on Abu Akleh funeral

Washington, DC – An annual US report on religious freedom around the world has noted Israeli forces’ attack on the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem last year, acknowledging that Israeli police beat mourners at the procession.

The 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom, released on Monday, said that on May 13, 2022, Israeli authorities used force to “disrupt” the funeral of the Palestinian-American reporter who had been fatally shot by Israeli forces days earlier. The attack sparked international condemnations last year.

“Prior to the procession, dozens of Israeli police officers wearing protective gear rushed crowds gathered at the hospital containing her body, entered the hospital, hitting and shoving people inside with batons and deploying tear gas and concussive grenades, according to Israeli media and footage released by the hospital,” the US Department of State report read.

It cited Israeli media reports as saying that a police officer told mourners that the funeral procession would not start until “nationalistic chants” by the crowd stopped.

“Video during the funeral procession documented police beating pallbearers with batons so that the coffin dropped almost to the ground,” the United States report said. “Police confiscated Palestinian flags from the casket, the hearse, and mourners.”

While the administration of US President Joe Biden previously expressed concern about the “intruding” on Abu Akleh’s funeral by Israeli police, Monday’s report marks a detailed acknowledgement of the incident. Israeli authorities did not punish officers involved in the attack.

Last year, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was “deeply troubled” by “images” of the assault on Abu Akleh’s funeral but stopped short of denouncing Israel’s conduct.

“Every family deserves to be able to lay their loved ones to rest in a dignified and unimpeded manner,” Blinken said at that time.

Abu Akleh, a veteran Al Jazeera correspondent, was fatally shot by the Israeli military while covering a raid in the Palestinian city of Jenin on May 11, 2022.

Last week, Abu Akleh’s family and Al Jazeera Media Network renewed calls for accountability in the case on the first anniversary of her killing.

The Biden administration has condemned the shooting death of Abu Akleh but adopted the Israeli account that the journalist was killed unintentionally. Even so, multiple independent investigations by media outlets and eyewitnesses have said that the journalist was not in the immediate vicinity of any fighting when she was shot.

Washington, which provides Israel with at least $3.8bn in military assistance every year, has also rejected efforts to seek accountability for Abu Akleh at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Jerusalem raid
Monday’s report also noted criticism by religious minorities and rights groups of Israel’s basic law, which states that “the right to national self-determination in the State of Israel is unique to the Jewish People”.

The report addressed an Israeli National Police (INP) raid on Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site, in April 2022.

“Media reported that INP beat mosque staff, the elderly, young persons, and paramedics,” it said.

“According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, INP hindered the arrival of ambulances and paramedics; Palestinian media said dozens of injured worshippers remained trapped inside the compound.

“Media reported at least 158 Palestinians were injured and estimated that INP detained 300-400 persons; INP reported that three officers were injured.”

Israeli forces similarly stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan this year.

The US report on Monday cited restrictions on Easter services at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem in 2022 that were also enacted this year.

“Authorities said they would allow 4,000 worshippers to attend the services, with 1,800 allowed in the church. The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate stated that 11,000 persons usually attend. The patriarchate released a statement saying that it ‘was fed up with police restrictions on freedom to worship’,” it said.

“A police representative said the decision was ‘totally about safety and not at all about anything else.’”

Introducing the report, which covers more than 200 countries and territories around the world, US Ambassador for International Religious Freedoms Rashad Hussain said he had attended Muslim, Christian and Jewish religious services during a visit to Jerusalem and the West Bank last month.

“I sat down with government leaders as well as leaders of the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities to discuss the importance of religious co-existence and protecting access to these religious sites,” Hussain said on Monday.

Other findings
The report renewed criticism of what the US says are “severe violations” by China against religious minorities, including Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists. Beijing has previously denounced Washington’s accusations of abuses of religious freedom, including allegations of genocide against its Uighur population.
In its section on India, a US ally, the document noted reports of “violence by law enforcement authorities against members of religious minorities in multiple states”, including the flogging of Muslim men and demolition of Muslim-owned homes and shops. India has also rejected previous US accusations of religious freedom violations.
The report highlighted the death of Mahsa Amini in Iranian police custody last year after she was arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. “Her death sparked nationwide protests against the mandatory hijab and the government’s treatment of women,” the report said. “Social media and international press reported women of all ages, including schoolgirls, protested by publicly removing and in some cases burning their hijabs.”

US State Dept religious freedom report red-flags India again, cites Bilkis Bano, flogging of Muslim men

In its response, the MEA said the report was based on ‘flawed understanding’ and that senior official’s comments were ‘motivated and biased’.

New Delhi: The US State Department’s annual report on “international religious freedom” has again expressed concerns regarding India, and seeks to highlight the “violence by law enforcement authorities against members of religious minorities” in the country.

The 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom was released Monday, just over a month before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to visit the US (22 June).

Among other things, it points to the “continued attacks on minorities — including public floggings, communal violence and the attack on members of religious minority communities”

The report seeks to explore the conditions of religious freedom in 199 countries. According to the State Department, it’s compiled using information from government officials, NGOs, religious groups, and journalists, among others. The department says the report covers “government policies violating religious belief and practices of groups, religious denominations and individuals, and US policies to promote religious freedom around the world”.

In its observations on India, the 2022 report cited various incidents from last year, such as the public flogging of Muslim men in Gujarat, cow vigilantism, and allegations of forced conversions against minorities.

Although Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s official response made no mention of India, a senior State Department official said there were “continued targeted attacks against religious communities, including Christians, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindu Dalits, and indigenous communities”.

In its response, the MEA said the report was based on “flawed understanding” and that senior official’s comments were “motivated and biased”.

“We are aware of the release of the US State Department 2022 Report on International Religious Freedom” MEA said in a statement. “Regrettably, such reports continue to be based on misinformation and flawed understanding. Motivated and biased commentary by some US officials only serves to undermine further the credibility of these reports. We value our partnership with the US and will continue to have frank exchanges on issues of concern to us.”

NCERT cuts, cow vigilantism — what the report mentions
At the press briefing, the senior official of the State Department quoted above said the report focuses on the “dehumanising rhetoric, including open calls for genocide against Muslims; lynching and other hate-fuelled violence, attacks on houses of worship and home demolitions, and in some cases impunity and even clemency for those who’ve engaged in attacks on religious minorities” in India.

Among the incidents that have found a mention in the report is the release of 11 convicts in the Bilkis Bano rape-and-murder case in August last year, the public flogging of Muslim men in Gujarat’s Kheda during Navaratri celebrations in October, and the bulldozing of Muslim activist Afreen Fatima’s home in Uttar Pradesh.

Also mentioned was the hijab row in Karnataka and the subsequent state government ban on clothes that “disturb equality, integrity and public order”, the National Council of Educational Research and Training’s (NCERT) decision to drop “selected topics” from history textbooks, and court orders that “affected the properties of religious groups”.

Speaking at the briefing, the senior State Department official said that the US Holocaust Museum “continues to draw considerable attention to the human rights situation in India and lists it as one of its top countries of concern — with regards to potential for mass killings there”.