“Stop Adding Religious Colour”: India Blasts US Body’s COVID-19 Remark

NEW DELHI, INDIA – MARCH 31: A bus driver in a protective suit before ferrying people who took part in a Tablighi Jamaat function earlier this month to a quarantine facility amid concerns of infection, on day 7 of the 21 day nationwide lockdown imposed by PM Narendra Modi to check the spread of coronavirus, at Nizamuddin West on March 31, 2020 in New Delhi, India. (Photo by Ajay Aggarwal/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

India on Wednesday came down hard on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom for its criticism of the country based on a “misguided” report that COVID-19 patients in a hospital in Ahmedabad were segregated on the basis of their religious identities.

The US Commission expressed concerns over the way India is fighting the coronavirus pandemic following a media report that a government-run hospital in Ahmedabad segregated the infected patients on the basis of their religions.

“As if its peremptory commentary on religious freedom in India is not enough, the USCIRF is now spreading misguided reports on the professional medical protocols followed to deal with spread of COVID-19 in India,” MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said.

He said no segregation of patients is being done in the civil hospital on the basis of religion as clarified by the Gujarat government.

Mr Srivastava said the USCIRF “must stop adding religious colour to our national goal of fighting the pandemic and distract from larger efforts”.

Earlier in a tweet, the Commission said it was concerned over the reports of Hindu and Muslim patients being separated in the hospital.

“Such actions only help to further increase ongoing stigmatization of Muslims in #India and exacerbate false rumors of Muslims spreading #COVID19,” it said.

The USCIRF had earlier criticised India on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

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