India reproves US on lawmakers’ intolerance letter

NAYANIMA BASU New Delhi | Updated on January 20, 2018

Vikas Swarup

HYDERABAD (AP) -04-03-2015 - CONTROVERSY OVER BEEF BAN : Undernourished livestock pass for grazing near Sangareddy in Medak District of Telangna .The cow slaughter ban in Maharashtra has set ripples of controversy over the consumption of beef - a low cost protein food raising issues over the meat consumed by people belonging to lower economic status who can ill afford high protein meat products .The Maharashtra State Animal Preservation (Amendment) Bill (1995) has secured the assent of President after 19 years of pendency . .--PHOTO: P.V.SIVAKUMAR

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.”

The letter clearly stated that the calling for beef ban across the entire country is “increasing tensions and encouraging vigilante violence against the Indian Muslim community.”

It also underlined the killings of Mohammed Hasmat Ali in Manipur and Mohammed Saif in Uttar Pradesh.

It also urged the Narendra Modi-led government to “take steps to address the activities of groups such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).”

The letter was signed by eight senators and 26 members of the House from both parties.

Published on February 29, 2016

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