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ICC Note:

The Indian government lashed out on Monday, reacting to a letter sent by US Congressmen regarding a dramatic rise in religious intolerance. Instead of confronting the issues raised in the letter from the Congressmen, India’s Ministry of External Affairs merely pointed to the country’s constitution which guarantees full religious freedom to say the concern raised by the Congressmen are a non-issue. Unfortunately, it takes the enforcement of rights written in a constitution for citizens of any nation to be able to enjoy those rights. That is where India’s government has so failed so far. Until India fully enforces the right of religious freedom, Article 25 of India’s constitution will remain just words on paper. 

2/29/2016 India (The Hindu) – The government Monday lashed out at America over their lawmakers’ letter on rising intolerance in India stating that Indian constitution “guarantees” fundamental rights to its citizens, including minorities.

“We have seen the letter written by some Members of the US Congress to the Prime Minister on religious freedom in India. It is unfortunate that these Members of Congress while applauding India as a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to inclusion and tolerance have chosen to focus on just a few incidents,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Swarup was responding to a letter written by 34 US lawmakers to PM Narendra Modi on Sunday even as some fringe elements affiliated to the ruling BJP government continue to stress on the imposition of a nation-wide beef ban.

The letter, which was released by The Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, expressed “grave concerns” over “increasing intolerance and violence” on the country’s religious minorities such as Muslims, Christians and Sikhs.

“India is proud of its status as the world’s largest democracy. The Indian Constitution guarantees fundamental rights to all its citizens, including minority communities. Aberrations, if any, are dealt with by our internal processes which include our independent judiciary, autonomous National Human Rights Commission, vigilant media, and vibrant civil society,” Swarup said.

He added that the government committed to the Constitutional principles which “underpin the nation of 1.25 billion people as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious society.”

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