India slams US panel for comments on religious minorities


VIkas swrop


New Delhi: India on Thursday slammed the US’ Tom Lantos Human Rights Committee and said it’s raising the issue of alleged “violence” against religious minorities in the country was based on “lack of understanding of India”.

External affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, in a statement said that the government had seen media reports about a briefing by the committee on “Violence against Religious Minorities in India”.

“We regard such efforts as based on a lack of understanding of India, its constitution and society,” he said.

“It is well known that the constitution of India guarantees equal religious, social and political rights to all its citizens, including minorities,” he added further.

At a Congressional hearing organized jointly by the commission and the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, literature containing testimonies of experts and details of speeches distributed to members spoke of violence against religious minorities, with a map of India which showed Pakistan occupied  Kashmir as part of Pakistan.

At the hearing, Congressman Patrick Meehan, co-chair of the American Sikh Congressional Caucus, alleged that “violence” against religious minorities has increased in India in recent months, calling it an issue of serious concern.

Meehan and the invited experts praised President Barack Obama for raising the issue of religious and human rights in India during his trip to the country early this year.