India raises concerns over human rights in US
India has said that it is tracking human rights abuses in the US, including those targeting Americans of Indian origin. The statement came after Washington criticized New Delhi's human rights record.
“We take up human rights issues when they arise [in the US], especially when they pertain to our community,” the Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said on Wednesday.
“And, in fact, we had a case yesterday,” the minister said, referring to the recent attacks on members of the Sikh community in New York.
On Tuesday, two men were assaulted with fists and a stick in Richmond Hill in Queens, police said. The victims were hospitalized. The incident, which is being investigated as a possible hate crime, occurred a week after another Sikh man was attacked in the same area. He was left with a broken nose and severe bruises.
“Sikhs have repeatedly faced this kind of violence – now multiple times in this same place in this month alone,” Nikki Singh, senior policy and advocacy manager with America’s Sikh Coalition group, said in a statement. Anti-Sikh hate crimes increased by 82% between 2019 and 2020, from 49 to 89, according to the FBI.
Jaishankar’s statement came in response to comments by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made on Monday. He said Washington was “monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials.”
“People are entitled to their views about us. But we are equally entitled to have views… about the interests, and lobbies and [voters] that drive that,” Jaishankar said.
On Tuesday, the State Department released its annual report on human rights around the world, criticizing New Delhi for “a lack of accountability for official misconduct… at all levels of government.”