Washington, February 27: Expressing “grave concern” over the violence in New Delhi, a US commission on international religious freedom urged the Indian government to take swift action for the safety of its citizens.

The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said the Indian government should provide protection to people regardless of their faith amid reports of attack on Muslims and expressed “grave concern” over the violence.

“We urge the Indian government to make serious efforts to protect Muslims and others targeted by mob violence,” USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins said in a statement on Wednesday.

Reacting to the statement, India on Thursday described the comments by the USCIRF and by “a few individuals” over the violence in Delhi as “factually inaccurate, misleading” and an attempt to politicise the issue.

Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said: “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.”

US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and a number of other leading American lawmakers have also expressed concern over the clashes in several parts of Delhi in which 34 people have been killed.

Though the MEA did not clarify the individuals being referred to, it is being seen as a reference to US lawmakers critical of India on the issue of the Delhi violence.

USCIRF Chair Perkins 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”.

USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said the “brutal and unchecked violence” across Delhi could not continue.




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