Sanders blasts Trump for 'failure of leadership on human rights' after Indian anti-Muslim riots

Sanders blasts Trump for 'failure of leadership on human rights' after Indian anti-Muslim riots
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Tech companies lead way on WFH forever | States and counties plead for cybersecurity assistance | Trump weighing anti-conservative bias panel Biden wins Hawaii primary Warren to host high-dollar fundraiser for Biden MORE (I-Vt.) condemned President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE’s response to riots in New Delhi targeting India’s Muslim minority that occurred during Trump’s visit to the country.

At least 27 people have died amid the unrest, which began over protests against a law making it easier for non-Muslims from neighboring countries to obtain Indian citizenship.

Trump sidestepped questions about the riots during a press conference Tuesday, while defending India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s record on religious freedom broadly.

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“The prime minister was incredible in what he told me. He wants people to have religious freedom, and very strongly,” Trump told reporters, adding that he had “heard about” the violence but that it was “up to India” to handle.

Sanders on Wednesday blasted Trump for his response. 

“Over 200 million Muslims call India home. Widespread anti-Muslim mob violence has killed at least 27 and injured many more,” Sanders tweeted Wednesday. “Trump responds by saying, ‘That's up to India.’ This is a failure of leadership on human rights.”

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Modi, leader of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, called for calm Wednesday, tweeting “Peace and harmony are central to our ethos. I appeal to my sisters and brothers of Delhi to maintain peace and brotherhood at all times.”

The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom has expressed serious concerns about the violence, with USCIRF Chairman Tony Perkins, a conservative Christian and vocal Trump ally, saying “One of the essential duties of any responsible government is to provide protection & physical security for its citizens, regardless of faith. We urge the Indian government to take serious efforts to protect Muslims & others targeted by mob violence.”

“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,” USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava said Wednesday.