India vibrant democracy, don't need certificate from others: MEA to Hamid Ansari, US lawmakers

New Delhi: The external affairs ministry on Friday reacted strongly to comments by former vice-president Hamid Ansari and four US lawmakers over the human rights situation in the country, saying India is a robust and vibrant democracy and does not require certification from others and attacked them for their "biases and political interests."

"The track record of the event organisers is as well known as the biases and political interests of the participants," MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said while responding to queries regarding the comments made by Ansari and others during a virtual panel discussion organised by the Indian American Muslim Council on Wednesday.

During the event, Ansari had said,"emergence of trends and practices that dispute the well-established principle of civic nationalism and interpose a new and imaginary practice of cultural nationalism", triggering a controversy with Union ministers and the BJP attacking the former vice-president,also a former diplomat.

"We have seen reports on this event. India is a robust and vibrant democracy. It does not require certification from others, " Bagchi said and asserted that the claim that others need to protect our constitution is "presumptuous and preposterous".

During the panel discussion, Democratic Senator Ed Markey, who has a history of taking anti-India stands, had said, "As the Indian government continues to target the practices of minority faiths, it creates an atmosphere where discrimination and violence can take root. In recent years, we have seen an uptick in online hate speeches and acts of hate, including vandalised mosques, torched churches, and communal violence."

Participating in the discussion from India, Ansari expressed his concern over the rising trend of cultural nationalism.

"In recent years, we have experienced the emergence of trends and practices that dispute the well-established principle of civic nationalism and interpose a new and imaginary practice of cultural nationalism... It wants to distinguish citizens on the basis of their faith, give vent to intolerance, insinuate otherness, and promote disquiet and insecurity," he alleged.

The three other Congressmen who spoke during the panel discussion -- Jim McGovern, Andy Levin and Jamie Raskin -- have traditionally taken anti-India stands irrespective of the governments in power in New Delhi.

Hitting out at Ansari for his remarks, the BJP said the "madness of bashing Prime Minister Narendra Modi has turned into a conspiracy for India bashing".

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju also hit out at the former vice-president, saying what he has said is "wrong" and as a member of the minority community, he can proudly say that India is the safest nation. PTI

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