Freedom of speech and expression is selectively guaranteed, and dissent was repressed by illegally restricting peaceful demonstration and silencing opponents. Human rights activists were arbitrarily detained, sometimes without accusation or trial, including students, intellectuals, journalists, and artists. The authorities have continued to imprison those who criticize the administration, despite a supreme court decision to reduce jail overcrowding and stem the spread of COVID-19.
There has been Inadequate investigations, punishment of offenders of caste, gender, and sex-based violence. And also repression of individuals who reported violations and caste crimes by the government. Freedom of speech was selective, guaranteed, and dissenters were oppressed, through illegal prohibitions on peaceful demonstration and suppression of criticism. Activists were arbitrarily detained, without accusation or trials, including students, intellectuals, journalists, and artists.
The authorities continued to imprison numerous critics, of the administration despite the Apex Court judgment to lessen jail overcrowding and stem COVID-19 spread. Authorities were not able to effectively investigate or punish perpetrators of caste, sex, or gender-based abuse and mistreated those who have sexual assault or caste-based offences. The crimes and assaults by lawman and authorities against religious minorities have been impunity and unaccountability. In reaction to the crisis, freedom of movement put swiftly on lakhs of migrants trapped without basic amenities and security. There have also been constraints on the privacy rights to stop this outbreak.
Here are some of the recent NDA’s violation of fundamental human rights:
Lockdown Of The UT Of Jammu & Kashmir (2019-2021)
Thousands of Kashmiris remained imprisoned without charges under a barbaric Public Safety Act, which allows for incarceration without trial for up to two years. In June, the government unveiled a revised media policy in the UT of J&K, which gave authorities the authority to judge what constitutes fake news, plagiarism, unethical or anti-national acts, and punish media outlets, journalists, and editors. The policy has ambiguous and overbroad clauses that might be abused, restricting and penalizing constitutionally permitted expression unduly. Opposition, journalists, and human rights advocates were also targeted, by the administration.
Since mid-2019, limits on accessing the communications networks and other limitations have harmed livelihoods, notably in the tourism-dependent Kashmir Valley. Since August 2019, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries estimates that the lockdown to prevent demonstrations has cost the economy about US$2.4 billion, for which no compensation has been granted. Since the government placed more limitations to control the spread of COVID-19 in March 2020, losses have nearly doubled.
Access to the internet became critical for information exchange, education, and business throughout the pandemic. Despite the Supreme Court's declaration that internet access is a basic right, authorities only allowed slow-speed 2G mobile internet services, prompting physicians to protest that the absence of internet was affecting the COVID-19 response.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act maintained to grant security forces significant protection from accountability, even for heinous human rights violations. Many people were assassinated by security personnel in the UT of J&K, allegedly because they were terrorists. In September, the army announced that its investigation had discovered prima facie evidence that its troops had violated their powers under the AFSPA and that those who were "answerable" would face disciplinary action.
Despite evidence that shotguns firing metal pellets are fundamentally imprecise and cause serious injury indiscriminately, even to passersby, security personnel continued to use them to disperse crowds, in violation of India's international commitments.
Security Forces Impunity
In several states, police beat those who broke the lockdown, even those seeking to collect vital supplies, in the early weeks of the countrywide lockdown that was declared in March to contain COVID-19. A 32-year-old man was allegedly beaten to death by police in West Bengal after stepping out of his home to purchase milk. In a video from Uttar Pradesh, police humiliated migrant labourers who were attempting to go back home. People who broke the lockdown were also unjustly punished or publically ridiculed by police in some jurisdictions.
New incident reports of police brutality and extrajudicial killing have exposed a lack of accountability for police abuses and a failure to enforce reforms. The National Human Rights Commission recorded 77 fatalities in police custody, 1,338 deaths in judicial detention, and 62 suspected extrajudicial killings in the first ten months, up to October.
After being jailed for allegedly breaking COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, a father and son died in police custody in Tamil Nadu state in June. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which was tasked with investigating the killings after a widespread outcry, charged nine police officers with murder and evidence destruction.
Uttar Pradesh policemen killed a suspect named Vikas Dubey, claiming he was attempting to flee police custody. He was the 119th person to be slain in an alleged extrajudicial assassination since the BJP administration in Uttar Pradesh, led by Yogi Adityanath, assumed office in March 2017. The Uttar Pradesh government stated that it would create a special police unit with the authority to search and arrest anyone without a warrant, generating new fears about misusing authority power.
In the event of community violence in Delhi, at least 53 lives were lost. In coordinated strikes by the mobs, over 200 were wounded, homes damaged, and populations displaced. While a police officer and few people were murdered, most of the fatalities were Muslim. After weeks of peaceful rallies against the discriminatory practices of the Indian government, the assaults occurred.
Soon after Kapil Mishra, a local BJP official requested the police to evacuate the streets of demonstrators, violence broke out. There were weeks of tension, and BJP officials publicly defended violence against demonstrators, who some termed "traitors." The cops demonstrated cooperation in the brutality via witnesses and video evidence. The Delhi Minority Commission report indicated that the violence in Delhi is "organized and targeted", and revealed that the police had filed cases for violence against Muslim victims but not the leaders of the BJP who encouraged them.
The authorities continued to utilize cow slaughter claims against Muslims in Uttar Pradesh. By August 2020, 4,000 individuals had been detained by Uttar Pradesh Government for accusing cow killing under the law to prohibit it, and the harsh National Security Act was also employed against 76 persons suspected of cow killing. The NSA can hold people without charge for up to a year.
Following the COVID-19 outbreak, anti-Muslim sentiment rose. In March, the BJP leaders dubbed this meeting "Taliban Crime" and "Corona Terrorism" when India stated that they had uncovered many of COVID-19 positive cases among Muslims who had attended a major religious assembly in Delhi. Some pro-government media have been shouting "Corona-Jihad". Social media platforms have been inundated with demands for Muslim social and economic boycotts. There have also been several violent attacks against Muslims, including the distribution of humanitarian goods by volunteers in the face of lies that have allegedly spread the infection.
Government stats from 2019 show that Dalits crimes have increased by 7%. This increase was partly the backlashing by Dalit rights activists against efforts to upgrade their mobility or what they may see as the problem of caste hierarchy. Dalit rights activists were asserted. In August 2020, 40 Dalit households were ostracised socially in Odisha when a 15-year-old girl stole flowers from a dominant caste family's property. In July, a Dalit man in Karnataka was stripped of his motorcycle and assaulted. In February, Dalit people in Tamil Nadu were killed for defecating their country by members of a superior caste. In September, a Dalit lawyer who was critical of Brahminism was slain in his social media remarks.
The Freedom Of Association
The government offices brought politically motivated cases against human rights defenders, university students, academics, opposition leader(s), and critics, including under draconian sedition and terrorism laws, blaming them for communal violence in Delhi in February and caste-based violence in Maharashtra. BJP supporters have been involved in the violence in both incidents. In such cases, police investigations were prejudiced to silence dissidents and to dissuade future government demonstrations.
The parliament enacted modifications, already employing foreign financing rules to harass foreign rights groups, to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) in September. The revisions imposed burdensome government surveillance, new rules, certification processes, and operating requirements which significantly affected civil society organizations and effectively restricted the availability of small NGOs to foreign financing.
Amnesty international was compelled to cease operations in India in September. This came immediately after the government froze the bank accounts of the organization. And accused of breaking the foreign financing regulations. Amnesty International claimed it is "a repetition" of his work and that "the constant witch-hunting by human rights organizations" was the newest act of the administration.
Freedom of Expression
Several journalists were faced by crowds and the police for reporting on COVID-19 for criminal cases. They were detained, given threats, or even faced physical assaults. In most cases, independent journalists were working in rural India to criticize the pandemic by the government.
In the meantime, authorities continue to use sedition and national safety against journalists. Rajeev Sharma was detained in September for allegedly selling sensitive information to Chinese authorities under the Official Secrets Act. The Indian Press Club criticized this arrest and referred to the "dubious". In August, officials detained Prashant Kanojia and charged him with damaging community harmony on Twitter. Kanojia, in a statement made on social media last year which criticized the state's chief minister but was granted bail.
The Supreme Court convicted prominent lawyer Prashant Bhushan of a "disproportionate response" for expressing critical opinions about the judiciary over two social media posts, which led to widespread condemnation of former judges, retired bureaucrats, and lawyers.
India has continued to operate with the most number of internet shutdowns as compared worldwide, while authorities have resorted either to avert social disturbances or to address a continuing problem of law and order. According to the Software Freedom Law Centre, in November, there were 71 shutdowns. Fifty-seven had been in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
In several states nationwide, domestic violence escalated during the lockdown. In March 2012, in Delhi, the government punished four men convicted of the gang rape and assassination of Jyoti Singh Pandey, even though the number of rape crimes recorded in 2019 has increased by 7.9 per cent over the previous year. Calls for a death penalty did not also tackle structural hurdles to justice to sexual or physical abuse survivors in India, which included the absence of proper legal and health assistance for those who survived, including shame, fears of reprisals, unfriendly or despicable police reaction.
A 19-year-old Dalit lady was killed in September after four men of upper caste reportedly gang-raped and tortured her in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The action of the authorities showed how underprivileged women confront even larger institutional obstacles. State officials burned the remains of the victim without the approval of the family, and denied the raped lady despite her deathbed declaration, reportedly to protect the accused from being a leading caste person.
In the workplace, sexual harassment against women is a glaring problem. The government has not implemented the 2013 sexual harassment of Women in the Workplace Law judiciously, including the development and necessary operation of women's informal complaint bodies.
Child Rights & The Pandemic
Schools have been closed since March 2020, in most states to date, affecting more than 280 million and threatening to reverse improvements in access for the poor, particularly those attending state schools. Government schools in most states did not provide education during the lockdown, playing a crucial role in driven child labour and early marriage amongst the children from marginalized populations like Dalit, the tribes, and Muslims.
The vulnerability has been to girls. UNICEF reported that, while many private schools offered lessons online, just 24 per cent of Indian families had access to the internet, owing to a large urban/rural and gender divide.
The pandemic enabled millions of children to be at risk of malnutrition, and diseases in India, particularly those from Dalit, and tribal communities. This malnutrition is due to the lack of adequate provision of food, health, and immunization provided to marginalized children from the government schools and Anganwadi centres, which were closed to end COVID-19.
The Rights Of The Disabled
The lockdown on COVID-19 has presented specific issues for people with disabilities, including access to healthcare and primary services and the practice of social distance, particularly for those who require personal help for their day-to-day chores.
During COVID-19, the central government introduced guidelines for the protection and security of disabled persons. It includes ensuring access for people with a lockout restriction, exemption for employees with unique disabilities from working as essential services, training of providers in disability rights, training for persons with disabilities, and accessing information such as braille, sign language, easy-to-read formats. However, activists have said that most state governments have poorly implemented the guidelines.
The government has released its proposed rules on the protection of rights of the transgender community and sought civil society opinions. But the organizations urged the authorities to stop the final legislation adopted last year, which did not give transgender individuals complete protection and respect. The law does not clarify the ability of gender dysphoria to self-identify, which the Supreme Court of India acknowledged by a significant decision in 2014. Its measures also violate international legal gender recognition criteria.
Global Leaders On The Human Rights In India
The US administration did not speak about India's human rights record, but numerous members of the US Congress kept raising their concerns openly.
The Indian authority labelled it a gross interference in India's domestic affairs following the Turkish Chairman's harsh statements at the UN General Assembly on Kashmir.
The EU has failed publicly to raise concerns over deteriorating human rights records to strengthen ties with India and revamp the discussions on a bilateral free trade deal. In July, the EU and India underlined their commitment to human rights and committed to re-establishing their local dialogue on human rights.
The European Parliament prepared and submitted an urgently needed resolution on India's Citizenship Amendment Act in February but indefinitely postponed its adoption. The Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee of the European Parliament in May and October highlighted concerns about the "deterioration of the rule of law," in India, including arrests of defenders of human rights, journalists, and nonviolent critics.
On COVID-19 instances the WHO also urged India to not profile the pandemic based on "the race, religion and ethnicity." The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has raised concerns over the breaches of human rights in Jammu and Kashmir. UN experts, urged the Indonesian authority, in June, to release arrested human rights defenders for protesting against citizenship policies, stating that the arrests appeared to be "clearly intended to give a cool message to the vibrant civilian society of India not tolerating criticism of the government policies." In October. Bachelet also highlighted concerns about the arrests and use of broadly defined legislation "to penalize non-governmental organizations for reporting and advocacy on human rights that the authorities regard to be crucial in nature."
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