India rejects comments by USCIRF, OIC on Delhi violence

NEW DELHI, Feb 27: India on Thursday rejected comments by a US commission on religious freedom, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and several US lawmakers on violence in the national capital, terming them factually inaccurate, misleading, and an attempt to politicise the issue.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), the OIC and several US lawmakers, including presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, criticised India over wide-spread violence in Delhi, in which 38 people were killed.

Sanders and a number of other leading American lawmakers expressed concern over the violence.

The communal violence over the amended citizenship law in northeast Delhi has claimed 38 lives and left over 200 people injured.

“We have seen comments made by USCIRF, sections of the media and a few individuals regarding recent incidents of violence in Delhi. These are factually inaccurate and misleading, and appear to be aimed at politicising the issue,” Kumar said.

Hours later, he hit out at the OIC for its statement on Delhi violence, saying its comments were factually inaccurate and misleading.

“The statements which have come out of OIC are factually inaccurate, they are selective, they are misleading. There is an effort on the ground, to restore normalcy, to create confidence,” Kumar said.

“We urge these bodies not to indulge in irresponsible        statements at this sensitive time,” he said.

Kumar said law enforcement agencies are working on the ground to prevent violence and ensure restoration of confidence and normalcy.

“Senior representatives of the government have been involved in that process. The prime minister has publicly appealed for peace and brotherhood. We would urge that irresponsible comments are not made at this sensitive time,” said Kumar.

On Wednesday, the USCIRF said, “The ongoing violence we are witnessing in Delhi and the reported attacks against Muslims, their homes and shops, and their houses of worship are greatly disturbing.”

“One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection and physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith,” it added.

In a statement, the OIC said it “condemns the recent and alarming violence against Muslims in India, resulting in the death and injury of innocent people and the arson and vandalism of mosques and Muslim-owned properties”.

“The OIC calls on Indian authorities to bring the instigators and perpetrators of these acts of anti-Muslim violence to justice and to ensure the safety and security of all its Muslim citizens and the protection of Islamic holy places across the country,” the statement said. (PTI)