US ‘very concerned’ about religious freedom in India, says Trump admin official

Observing that historically India has been a very tolerant, respectful country for all religions, a top Trump administration official has said that the US is “very concerned” about what is happening in the country in terms of religious freedom.

The remarks of Samuel Brownback, the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, came hours after the release of the ‘2019 International Religious Freedom Report’ on Wednesday.

Mandated by the US Congress, the report documenting major instances of the violation of religious freedom across the world was released by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department.

India has previously rejected the US religious freedom report, saying it sees no locus standi for a foreign government to pronounce on the state of its citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.

Brownback, during a phone call with foreign journalists on Wednesday, said India has been a country area that spawned four major religions itself.

“We do remain very concerned about what’s taking place in India. It’s historically just been a very tolerant, respectful country of religions, of all religions,” he said.

The trendlines have been troubling in India because it is such a religious subcontinent and seeing a more communal violence, Brownback said.

“We’re seeing a lot more difficulty. I think really they need to have a I would hope they would have an – interfaith dialogue starting to get developed at a very high level in India, and then also deal with the specific issues that we identified as well.

“It really needs a lot more effort on this topic in India, and my concern is, too, that if those efforts are not put forward, you’re going to see a growth in the violence and of the increased difficulty within the society writ large,” said the top American diplomat on international religious freedom.

Responding to a question, Brownback hoped that the minority faiths are not to be blamed for the COVID-19 spread and that they would have access to the healthcare and the foods and the medicines that they need during the crisis.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has criticised any form of discrimination, saying the COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone equally.

“COVID-19 does not see race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or border before striking. Our response and conduct thereafter should attach primacy to unity and brotherhood,” Modi said in a post on LinkedIn in February.

The Indian government, while previously rejecting the US…

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