Engaged with India, other nations on importance of equal treatment for members of all religious communities: US

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The Biden administration is deeply committed to promoting and protecting universal respect for the right to freedom of religion and has engaged many countries, including India, on the importance of equal treatment for members of all religious communities, a senior US official has said. “We have engaged many countries, including India, on the importance of equal treatment for members of all religious communities,” State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters at his daily news conference on Monday.

Miller was responding to a question on a New York Times story titled “Strangers in Their Own Land: Being Muslim in Modi’s India” which alleges that the world’s largest Muslim community in India is raising their families and children with fear and uncertainty. “Have you engaged with the Indian officials in these issues?” Miller was asked. “I won’t speak to private diplomatic conversations but we are deeply committed to promoting and protecting universal respect for the right to freedom of religion or belief all around the world,” Miller said.

The article published over the weekend alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had “chipped away at the secular framework and robust democracy” since taking office. India in the past has trashed such allegations as based on “misinformation and flawed understanding” of the country. Prime Minister Modi has also asserted that he has never uttered a word against minorities, and the BJP has “not just today but never” acted against them. He, however, made it clear that he is not ready to accept anyone as “special citizens.” The comments in an interview to PTI Videos on Sunday are Modi’s most unequivocal on minorities amid an outcry from the opposition that his election speeches are communally divisive and polarising.

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