Modi ‘in denial’ over intolerance in India

Published June 24, 2023
INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks as US Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken look on during a luncheon at the State Department in Washington, DC, on Friday.—AFP
INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks as US Vice President Kamala Harris and Secretary of State Antony Blinken look on during a luncheon at the State Department in Washington, DC, on Friday.—AFP

WASHINGTON: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has denied that discrimination against minorities existed under his government, despite reports of rampant abuses.

US President Joe Biden, said he had discussed human rights and other democratic values with the Indian PM during their talks in the White House.

Asked at the press conference what steps he was willing to take to “improve the rights of Muslims and other minorities in your country and to uphold free speech,” Modi suggested they did not need to be improved.

“Our Constitution and our government, and we have proved democracy can deliver. When I say deliver — caste, creed, religion, gender, there is no space for any discrimination (in my government),” he told reporters.

Dozens of protesters gathered near the White House on Thursday. “Modi should think why that was the first question asked to him in the press briefing. It’s obvious to all there is rights abuse in India,” said Ajit Sahi, a protester and advocacy director at the Indian American Muslim Council.

“Modi’s comments (that there is no religious discrimination by his government) is a complete lie. India has become a black-hole for religious minorities,” said Raqib Hameed Naik, the founder of Hindutva Watch, a group that monitors reports of attacks on Indian minorities. US Senator Bernie Sanders said Modi’s “aggressive Hindu nationalism” has “left little space for India’s religious minorities”.

Mr Modi also met US and Indian technology CEOs in Washington on Friday, the final day of a state visit marked by pledges of deeper US-India cooperation on areas including space, artificial intelligence and quantum computing. President Joe Biden and Modi gathered with CEOs, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella.

Published in Dawn, June 24th, 2023

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