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Home India On US Antony Blinken Remarks On Human Rights Situation In India, S Jaishankar’s Counter

On US Antony Blinken Remarks On Human Rights Situation In India, S Jaishankar’s Counter

On US Antony Blinken Remarks On Human Rights Situation In India, S Jaishankar’s Counter

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Foreign Minister S Jaishankar with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

New Delhi:

People are entitled to have views about India’s policies but at the same time New Delhi was “equally entitled” to have views about them, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar said on Wednesday in remarks seen as the first official reaction to the recent comments by the US on “human rights abuses” in the country.

At a joint news conference after the 2+2 dialogue on Monday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had said that the US is monitoring some recent “concerning developments” in India, including a rise in “human rights abuses” by some government, police, and prison officials. The comments were made by Mr Blinken at the joint news conference that was addressed by Mr Jaishankar, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin.

Mr Blinken did not elaborate. Mr Singh and Mr Jaishankar, who spoke after Blinken at the briefing, did not comment on the human rights issue.

“Look, people are entitled to have views about us. But we are also equally entitled to have views about their views and about the interests, and the lobbies and the vote banks which drive that. So, whenever there is a discussion, I can tell you that we will not be reticent about speaking out,” Mr Jaishankar said at a press briefing Wednesday, adding that the human rights issue was not a topic of discussion during the India US 2+2 ministerial meeting this week.

Mr Jaishankar asserted that whenever there is a discussion New Delhi will not be reticent about speaking out.

“I would tell you that we also take our views on other people’s human rights situation, including that of the United States. So, we take up a human rights issues when they arise in this country, especially when they pertain to our community. And in fact, we had a case yesterday…that’s really where we stand on that,” he said.

In a rare direct rebuke by Washington of New Delhi, Mr Blinken, at the joint press briefing, said, “We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared values (of human rights) and to that end, we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials”.

The US State Department, in its 2021 country report on Human Rights Practices published yesterday, had said that there were “credible reports” of human rights issues, including “extrajudicial killings by the government or its agents” in India.

Incidents of hate crimes against the Indian community have increased by “200% in recent years”, according to NY State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar, the first Punjabi American ever elected to New York State Office.

On Tuesday, two Sikh men were assaulted in an alleged hate crime incident in Richmond Hills area of New York, US. The attack on the two men – who were on an early morning walk – reportedly took place at the same location where a member of the community was attacked nearly 10 days ago.

In January this year, a Sikh taxi driver was assaulted at JFK International Airport, with the attacker allegedly calling him “turbaned people” and asking him to “go back to your country”.

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