India deems US panel's statement on Delhi violence 'factually incorrect'
India on Thursday reacted to the comments made by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on the communal violence in Northeast Delhi. Referring to the USCIRF's statement which noted that the violence targeted Muslims, India's Ministry of External Affairs said the comments are "factually incorrect and misleading." Meanwhile, the death toll in the violence rose to 34 on Thursday.
Aimed at politicizing issue: MEA on USCIRF's statement
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar on Thursday said that the comments made by USCIRF along with "sections of the media and a few individuals" were "factually inaccurate and misleading, and appear to be aimed at politicizing the issue." Kumar said that India's law enforcement agencies and senior government representatives are working towards restoring normalcy and advised against "irresponsible comments."
'Urge that irresponsible comments aren't made at this sensitive time'
Kumar said, "Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has publicly appealed for peace and brotherhood. We would urge that irresponsible comments are not made at this sensitive time." Modi addressed the violence on the fourth day that it continued after "extensive review" and called for peace.
What's happening in Northeast Delhi?
The violence started Sunday in Delhi's Maujpur between protesters for and against the Citizenship Amendment Act. It continued in Bhajanpura, Jaffrabad, Gokulpuri, Chand Bagh, Yamuna Vihar, among other regions, killing 34 by Thursday. The violence reportedly witnessed stone pelting, arson, gun firing, etc. Homes, vehicles, schools, religious sites were targeted. Accused of laxity and enabling violence on Muslims, the police resorted to tear gas-shelling.
Several mosques torched; violence targeted Muslims: USCIRF
The USCIRF on Wednesday expressed "grave concern" over the violence, "with reports of violence and mobs specifically targeting Muslims." "According to reports, several mosques have also been set alight or vandalized. Many Muslim residents have been forced to flee the area," the USCIRF noted. USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava also said that the "Delhi police have not intervened in violent attacks against Muslims."
Urge Indian government to protect Muslims: USCIRF Chair
USCIRF Chair Tony 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." Underlining the essential duties of a responsible government, Perkins added, "We urge the Indian government to take serious efforts to protect Muslims and others targeted by mob violence."
2020 US Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders also spoke on violence
Democratic US Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders had on Wednesday criticized the "anti-Muslim mob violence" in Delhi. He also slammed US President Donald Trump for not taking a stand. Trump had previously said that he was aware of the violence, but did not discuss it with Modi during his recent India visit as it was "up to India." Sanders called it a "failure of leadership."
You can view Sanders' tweet here
'Violence against peaceful protesters never acceptable'
Before Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, another US Democratic Presidential candidate, had addressed the situation in Delhi saying "violence against peaceful protesters is never acceptable." Several US lawmakers have also spoken against the communal violence in Delhi.Share this timeline