- Feb 27, 2020
The Hindu-Muslim riots in Delhi that killed 38 people and injured 200 have led U.S. lawmakers, including Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, to criticize President Trump for not showing “leadership” by raising the issue during his visit to India last week.
Sanders, who recently won two major Democratic primaries at Nevada and New Hampshire and tied at Iowa, tweeted Feb. 26 that Trump had failed to criticize the violence which racked Delhi, even as he was visiting.
“Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more. Trump responds by saying, “That’s up to India.” This is a failure of leadership on human rights,” Sanders said in a Twitter post, according to a Livemint.com report.
News reports said the criticism by Sanders and other U.S. lawmakers, including Democrat Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal and Rashida Talib also sparked a twitter battle with BJP’s national general secretary B.L. Santhosh tweeting to Sanders saying that he or his party may interfere in the U.S. elections.
“How much ever neutral we wish to be you compel us to play a role in Presidential elections. Sorry to say so… but you are compelling us,” he tweeted. The Wire reported on Feb. 27 that Santhosh later deleted it, but the remaining replies which tag both of them show that they are part of the same thread.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar was quoted as saying that India had “seen comments made by U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedoms, sections of the media and a few individuals regarding recent incidents of violence in Delhi”.
While Kumar didn’t name lawmakers, he said the tweets are “factually inaccurate and misleading, and appear to be aimed at politicizing 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 that irresponsible comments are not made at this sensitive time,” Kumar was quoted as saying in The Wire.
Despite the violence that started when Trump was in Delhi, the U.S. president stayed away from making any comment on the issue. Instead, he commended Modi for “working very hard on religious freedom” and refused to discuss the controversial new citizenship law that set off protests across the country, saying that the matter was “really up to India.”
Sanders, who has been a critic of Trump’s engagement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including during the Howdy Modi event in Houston last year, had also decried Trump last week for harping on weapons sales with India.
“Instead of selling $3 billion in weapons to enrich Raytheon, Boeing and Lockheed, the U.S. should be partnering with India to fight climate change,” he tweeted on February 25, after U.S. President announced at ‘Namaste Trump’ rally in Ahmedabad that India was buying $3 billion worth of military helicopters.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedoms commissioner Anurima Bhargava had said in a statement that the brutal and unchecked violence growing across Delhi cannot continue.
“The Indian government must take swift action to ensure the safety of all of its citizens. Instead, reports are mounting that the Delhi police have not intervened in violent attacks against Muslims, and the government is failing in its duty to protect its citizens. These incidents are even more concerning in the context of efforts within India to target and potentially disenfranchise Muslims across the country, in clear violation of international human rights standards,” she said