A day after former vice-president Hamid Ansari and four US lawmakers made unsubstantiated claims of human rights violations in India, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said India was a robust and vibrant democracy and did not require a certificate from others. It slammed Ansari, a former Indian diplomat and vice-president of the country, saying the track record of the event organisers was as well-known as the “biases and political interests of the participants”.
Ansari and the four US lawmakers had made the comments at a virtual seminar organised by the Indian American Muslim Council on 26 January.
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “We have seen reports on the issue. India is a robust and vibrant democracy. It does not require certification from others. The claim that others need to protect our constitution is presumptuous and preposterous. The track record of the event organisers is as well-known as the biases and political interests of the participants.”
Participating in the panel discussion from India, Ansari, who has had problems with the Narendra Modi government since it assumed office, expectedly ranted, complaining of a supposed rising trend of Hindu nationalism. “In the recent years, we have experienced the emergence of trends and practices that dispute the well-established principle of civic nationalism and interpose a new and imaginary practice of cultural nationalism… It wants to distinguish citizens on the basis of their faith, give vent to intolerance, insinuate otherness and promote disquiet and insecurity,” he had said.
“As the Indian government continues to target the practices of minority faiths, it creates an atmosphere where discrimination and violence can take root. In recent years, we have seen an uptick in online hate speeches and acts of hate, including vandalised mosques, torched churches and communal violence,” Democrat Senator Ed Markey had said.
The three other Congressmen who spoke during the panel discussion on the basis of half-baked information about India were Jim McGovern, Andy Levin and Jamie Raskin.