Through distorted lens, it is not easy to see India’s standing on democracy and its syncretic culture
On December 5, Qatar-based Aljazeera put up a highly critical story under a headline: ‘The Biden administration is enabling India’s human rights abuses’
In the series of India-related stories, the Qatar-based Aljazeera news recently published an article that claimed that on November 17, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken named 10 countries on the US government’s official list of the world’s worst offenders of religious freedom. A notable omission was India. The news portal cites the 2021 USCIRF report which had disproportionately castigated India, stating religious freedom in India has witnessed a drastic downward turn.
First of all, this selective approach of Aljazeera is what several news outlets avoid to follow. Times Now Digital, India’s prominent news channel’s web portal attributes USCIRF’s biased anti-India report to the US federal government commission being infiltrated by Islamist fronts with a direct links to Pakistan. The web portal maintains that the USCIRF created by the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) to monitor the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad, has been infiltrated by Islamist fronts with links to Jamaat-e-Islami, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Hizbul Mujahideen. Times Now Digital cites a report by DisInfo Lab which states that USCIRF report is a result of a planned lobbying effort to influence the US federal government commission by the US Islamic Circle of North America and its fronts like the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA). The web portal further states that the US Islamic Circle of North America was behind pushing the Islamophobia and fascism narrative in India in 2020, which was actually being run through Inter-Services Public Relations, the media and the public relations wing of the Pakistan Armed Forces.
Read the complete article in Times Now Digital:
Aljazeera claimed that US Secretary of State Blinken’s refusal to designate India as Country of Particular Concern contradicts and is inconsistent with his own position on India. Just seven months ago, he released the US Department of State’s global religious freedom report that indicted India for severe religious persecution. It contained damning reports from the ground implicating members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and his affiliates from the 96-year-old Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in the persecution of religious minorities, especially Muslims and Christians.
The Qatari media appears to be not in sync with the ground realities in India, which is considered as the safest place for minorities in the world. The constitutional, social, cultural and religious rights of minorities are safer and secure in India compared with elsewhere in the world, the country’ Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi has repeatedly said at various forums. His statement carried by Deccan Herald, prominent news daily published from Bengaluru, is categorical on the issue of safety and rights of minorities. He said communal harmony and tolerance is in the DNA of the majority community in India, and the social, religious and constitutional rights of minorities are absolutely safe in the country. He said criminal incidents involving minorities should not be given communal colour.
Read the complete article in Deccan Herald:
Aljazeera claimed that in September, the then US Charge d’Affaires Atul Keshap, an Indian American, met RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who holds no government position, but heads India’s superstructure of religious persecution and calls for turning India into a Hindu nation. They discussed “India’s tradition of diversity, democracy, inclusivity and pluralism”.
As per Business Standard, in the last few days of his tenure as Charge d’ Affairs at the US embassy in India Atul Keshap had held a series of farewell meetings. He had also met RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat and held good discussion on how “India’s tradition of diversity, democracy, inclusivity and pluralism can ensure the vitality and strength of a truly a great nation. Without hiding anything from the world, Atul Keshap maintained this in his tweets. The then Charge d’ Affairs had also met Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and tweeted: “Pleasure to meet with @priyankagandhi and reflect on the long history of US-India friendship and cooperation.” This issue however, was selectively given a miss by Aljazeera.
Read the complete article in Business Standard:
Aljazeera claimed that the RSS Chief called for turning India into a Hindu nation.
Unfortunately, the Qatari news outlet went by nuances and not by semantics of words ‘Hindu nation.’ On numerous occasions, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat has said that Hinduism is not some form of worship or some language. Hinduism is the name of a cultural legacy which is the legacy of all people living in India. He also said that even though Hindus and Muslims have different ways of worshipping, both are a part of the country. Once everyone realizes this then all conflict would be over.
Read the complete article in The Hindustan Times:
As the largest democracy of the world, India has implemented various schemes for the welfare and upliftment of every section of the society including minorities especially economically weaker and downtrodden sections all over the country with schemes like Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM KISAN), Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY), Pradhan Mantri AwasYojana (PMAY), Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Yojana. Aljazeera’s columnists must go through these programmes before launching tirade against India and its syncretic culture.