India on Wednesday came down hard on the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) for its criticism of the country over "misguided" reports that Coronavirus patients were being segregated on the basis of religious identity in an Ahmedabad hospital and asked it to stop adding "religious colour" to the Indian government's efforts in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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 the 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.
Srivastava said the USCIRF "must stop adding religious colour to our national goal of fighting the pandemic and distract from larger efforts".
The Health Deptt.of Govt.of Gujarat has clarified that no segregation is being done in civil hospital on the basis of religion.Corona Patients are being treated based on symptoms, severity etc.and according to treating doctors' recommendations.— PIB in Gujarat (@PIBAhmedabad) April 15, 2020
Earlier in a tweet, the Commission said it was concerned over the reports of Hindu and Muslim patients being separated in the hospital.
The USCIRF had earlier criticised India on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. The USCIRF is a US federal government commission created by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. The Commissioners of the organisation are appointed by the US President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives.
As per the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday there are 695 COVID-19 cases in Gujarat; 30 deaths have been reported in the state due to the infection so far.
The death toll due to Coronavirus rose to 392 with 39 fatalities reported since Tuesday evening, while the number of cases saw a jump of 1,118 to go up to 11,933 on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry. As many as 1,343 people were cured and discharged, and one has migrated, it said. A single day highest increase of 1,463 cases was recorded on Tuesday.
(With agency inputs)