The Indian government has slammed a US state-run religious freedom watchdog for making an “irresponsible” statement about violence which erupted in Delhi amid protests over the citizenship law.
The comments made by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF) about the recent Delhi clashes were “factually inaccurate and misleading, and appear to be aimed at politicizing the issue,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs stated on Thursday.
Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar noted that police are “working to prevent violence and ensure restoration of confidence and normalcy.” He pointed out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to everyone to maintain “peace and brotherhood.”
Kumar urged people to ensure that “irresponsible comments are not made at this sensitive time.”
The USCRIF had earlier expressed “grave concern” over the deadly violence breaking out in India’s capital between opponents and supporters of the citizenship law passed last year. USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava demanded that India ensures the safety of all citizens, while citing reports that police did not intervene to stop attacks against Muslims.
Bhargava also spoke about “efforts within India to target and potentially disenfranchise Muslims across the country.”
At least 30 people were killed and more than 250 injured during unrest in Delhi in recent days. The violence came on the heels of the protests against the law that simplifies getting citizenship for several religious groups coming from Muslim-majority countries, but does not do the same for Muslims living in India.
Indian officials have been arguing that the law is a purely humanitarian action and is not discriminatory against Muslims who can still acquire citizenship through usual procedures.
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