On Thursday, the Ministry of External Affairs took an indirect dig at US Democratic Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders for his remarks on the Delhi violence. During a press briefing, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar stated that the remarks made by USCIRF, sections of the media and a “few individuals” were factually incorrect and misleading.
Thereafter, he was asked a specific question on whether he was referring to US lawmakers such as Senator Sanders when he spoke about the “individuals” spreading factually incorrect information. Evading a direct response, Kumar retorted by saying that the journalist was experienced enough to know who he was referring to.
The journalist asked, “In response to what has been said by the USCIRF, you also mentioned about a few individuals. So are you referring to US Presidential nominee Bernie Sanders and several other US lawmakers? Can you just clarify?”
MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar responded, “You have been following the Foreign Ministry for a long time. As a spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, when I say media and individuals, you do understand who I am referring to.”
Expressing grave concern over the violence in the national capital, the USCIRF claimed that “several” mosques had been set on fire and many Muslims had been forced to flee the affected areas. Contending that the Delhi police had not intervened in attacks against Muslims, USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said that there was a clear violation of international human rights standards. Earlier in the day, US Senator Bernie Sanders claimed that the violence in Delhi was solely directed towards a particular community.
In an official statement reacting to these remarks, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar stated, "We have noticed that USCIRF, sections of the media and a few individuals have commented on recent incidents of violence in Delhi. These are factually inaccurate and misleading, and appear to be aimed at politicising the issue. Our law enforcement agencies are working on the ground to prevent violence and ensure restoration of confidence and normalcy. Senior representatives of the government have been involved in that process. Prime Minister has publicly appealed for peace and brotherhood. We would urge everyone not to make irresponsible comments at this sensitive time.”