New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has strongly rejected US state department’s 2018 International Religious Freedom Report wherein it had claimed that minority communities, especially Muslims, were attacked by Hindu outfits throughout the year (2018) amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef. Asserting that the BJP leaders had strongly deplored violence against minorities and weaker sections of society, the saffron party said that the US report  shows clear bias against the Narendra Modi-led BJP government.

“The basic presumption in this report that there is some grand design behind anti-minority violence is simply false. On the contrary, in most of such cases, these instances are carried out as a result of local disputes and by criminal mindsets,” BJP’s national media head Anil Baluni said in a communique.

The ruling party further said that it believes in ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas’ and that its schemes have benefited ‘all the castes, religions and regions equally’.

“BJP is indeed proud of its record in uplifting living standards of all poor, underprivileged sections of the society, irrespective of their faith and gender. Indian people have recently reaffirmed their confidence on the development agenda of BJP/NDA alliance under the leadership of Narendra Modi by giving him a massive mandate,” the BJP said.

The ruling party said the report ignored the fact that India has “deep-rooted democratic institutions” including judiciary which can handle such “disputes” and bring the culprits to justice.

It said, “India has deep-rooted democratic institutions, including a fiercely independent and pro-active judiciary, which is quite capable of handling such disputes and punish the guilty. Unfortunately, this fact is completely ignored in this report.”

The US State Department in its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report had also alleged that some senior officials in the ruling BJP made inflammatory speeches against the minority communities. “Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef,” it said.

According to some NGOs, the authorities often protected perpetrators from prosecution, it said. The report said that as of November, there were 18 such attacks, and eight people killed during the year.

On June 22, two Uttar Pradesh police officers were charged with culpable homicide after a Muslim cattle trader died of injuries sustained while being questioned in police custody, the report said.

Releasing the report at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the report was like a report card which tracks countries to see how well they have respected this fundamental human right.

(With agency inputs)