Indian Catholic News

Rights groups assail India’s human rights record

The report released on May 23 in Washington said the abuses have increased since the BJP government came to power.

New Delhi: 

Alliance for Justice and Accountability, a coalition of Indian Christians, Dalits, Muslims and progressive forces in the US, released a comprehensive report on human rights abuses against India’s social and religious minorities.

The report released on May 23 in Washington said the abuses have increased since the BJP government came to power. “This grim reality is already being acknowledged within India as well as internationally.”

“The very soul of India is at stake. Any elected government has to be accountable to the constitution of India, the laws of the land,” said Ajit Sahi, a spokesman for the coalition.

The 63-page report focuses on incidents of religious violence, vigilantism, extra judicial killings, “love jihad,” re-conversion to Hinduism, restrictions on freedom of expression and intimidation of rights groups. It begins by citing several international reports on India’s record, not all of which can be dismissed as motivated or slanted.

At the recent peer review of India’s record by the UN Human Rights Council India received questions from 112 countries, the second highest number after South Africa.

India also came in for criticism in the US State Department’s report on religious freedom. The quasi-official US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) said “religious tolerance” had decreased while the violations had increased. Human Rights Watch in its 2016 report said attacks by those who claim to be supporters of the BJP are an “increasing concern” in India.

The EU’s Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World urged India to do more to fight “deeply entrenched societal practices”.

The Pew Research Center placed India among the worst ten in the 2016 global index of human rights alongside Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria and Afghanistan.

And finally, India’s home ministry figures released last year support what others are saying – a 17% rise in the incidence of violence against minorities in 2015 over the previous year, with 97 killed and 2,200 injured.

An unidentified young Dalit activist at the meeting said minority members of the Indian diaspora have decided to stand up against the “forces of Hindu right” in the US. Dalits, Sikhs, Muslims and Christians make a “strong” coalition. “The beast has woken up. We don’t buy the Modi pill,” she said.

The report says the “unprecedented success of the BJP has provided a tremendous fillip to Hindu supremacist forces who form a significant portion of its base.” Law enforcement agencies have taken their cue and there has been “an uptick in the practice of arbitrary and unlawful detention, torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of terrorism suspects in police custody.”

The National Human Rights Commission registered 36,000 complaints against the police in 2015-16 but only in 94 cases was a first information report filed against the police, the report says.

Source: The Wire

Top Stories