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US says it's engaged with India, other countries for equal treatment of all religious communities

The US Department of State said it is deeply committed to protecting and promoting universal respect for the freedom of religion. These remarks came after an observation made in a New York Times report on the Muslim population in India.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Washington Published on: May 21, 2024 9:48 IST
US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.
Image Source : US DEPARTMENT OF STATE US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.

Washington: The United States on Monday (local time) said it remains deeply committed to promoting and protecting universal respect for the right to freedom of religion and has engaged with several countries, including India, on the matter. The remarks by the US State Department follow after an observation made in a New York Times report on the world's largest Muslim community in India.

"We are deeply committed to promoting and protecting universal respect for the right to freedom of religion or belief of all around the world. We have engaged many countries including India on the importance of equal treatment for members of all religious communities," US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a daily press briefing on Monday.

Meanwhile, a recent report by the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) stated that the share of the Muslim population in India increased from 9.84 per cent to 14.09 per cent between 1950 and 2015. In the same period, the share of Hindu population in India decreased from 84.68 per cent to 78.06 per cent. The report further observed increases in the Christian, Sikh, and Buddhist populations, while the Jain and Parsi populations decreased.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also highlighted the report by the EAC-PM and claimed that the narrative that the "minority is in danger" is false and has been exposed. "Between 1950 and 2015, the number of Hindus in India has decreased by about 8 per cent, while that of minorities has increased by 43 per cent. The perception that has been created is proving to be a mistake. The wrong narrative is being exposed. Whatever meaning one has to take out of it, they can. I don't want to bring out anything," PM Modi said in an interview earlier this month.

"If this is factual, then the perceptions created as in that minority is being suppressed in India, there is no voice for the minority in India... all these narratives that are being created, all this allegation against India, please accept the truth and come out of this narrative," he added.

Earlier, the Ministry of External Affairs rejected a report by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, which accused the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of "reinforcing discriminatory nationalist policies." The Ministry called the organisation "biased" and stated that it does not expect the organization to understand India's diverse, pluralistic, and democratic ethos.

(with ANI inputs)

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