During a joint press conference at the White House on June 22, a rare event took place as PM Modi, who assumed office in 2014, took question from journalists for the first time. Sabrina Siddiqui from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) was the one journalist who posed question to PM Modi. Siddiqui specifically inquired about the measures implemented by the Indian government to enhance the rights of minorities, particularly Muslims, and preserve the principles of free expression.
Notably, this was the first instance when the Prime Minister took a question from a journalist in a presser and answered it. Earlier in 2019, PM Modi appeared in a press conference but did not take any questions.
Siddiqui, who covers the White House for the WSJ, asked PM Modi, “What steps are you and your government willing to take to improve the rights of Muslims and other minorities in your country and to uphold free speech?”
In his response, PM Modi vehemently upheld India's track record on democracy and highlighted his government's achievements in the realm of human rights. He emphasized that the fundamental cornerstone of his administration has been the principle of "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, and Sabka Prayas," signifying a collective effort towards inclusive growth and fostering trust among all individuals.
"We are a democracy...India & America both have democracy in our DNA. Democracy is in our spirit & we live it and it's written in our Constitution...So no question of discrimination on the grounds of caste, creed or religion arises. That is why, India believes in sabka saath, sabka vikas, sabka vishwas, sabka prayaas and walks ahead with it. These are our foundation principles, which are the basis of how we operate and how we live our lives in India. The benefits that are provided by the government are accessible to all whoever deserves those benefits is available to everybody," PM Modi said.
Who is Sabrina Siddiqui?
Sabrina Siddiqui, an esteemed journalist, holds prominence as a Muslim American in the field. She serves as a White House reporter for The Wall Street Journal in Washington, D.C., specialising in covering the Biden presidency.
Having graduated from Northwestern University, she presently resides in Washington with her spouse.
Prior to her current position, Siddiqui gained experience reporting on the White House and the 2016 presidential election during her tenure at the Guardian, which lasted until 2019.
Before her stint at The Wall Street Journal, Sabrina Siddiqui delved into reporting on the Obama administration and Congress during her tenure at The Huffington Post. Additionally, she gained valuable experience as part of the White House team at Bloomberg.
Reportedly, Sabrina Siddiqui's father was born in India but grew up in Pakistan, while her mother hails from Pakistan. However, Siddiqui herself was born in the United States.