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SOURCE: PTI

India on Friday categorically rejected criticism against it in an annual US State Department report on international religious freedom, describing it as deeply biased and visibly driven by vote-bank considerations.

External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal said the report selectively picked incidents to advance a preconceived narrative against India. In his remarks at the release of the report, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said there has been a “concerning increase” in anti-conversion laws, hate speech and demolitions of homes and places of worship of members of minority faith communities in India.

“As in the past, the report is deeply biased, lacks an understanding of India’s social fabric and is visibly driven by votebank considerations and a prescriptive outlook,” Jaiswal said.

“We therefore reject it. The exercise itself is a mix of imputations, misrepresentations, selective usage of facts, reliance on biased sources and a one-sided projection of issues,” he said.

The MEA spokesperson said, “It has selectively picked incidents to advance a preconceived narrative as well. In some cases, the very validity of laws and regulations are questioned by the report.” Jaiswal said the report also appears to challenge the integrity of certain judgments given by Indian courts.