An alliance of Indian-American groups has alleged that human rights abuses against social and religious minorities have been on the ascendance under the current BJP-led government in the last three years. The report ‘Minority Rights Violations in India by Alliance for Justice and Accountability’ was prepared by the alliance, which represents several Indian-American groups, mainly those who had led a campaign against Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat.
The groups include Indian-American Muslim Council, Dalit American Coalition, Organisation of Minorities from India, TwoCircles and South Asian Solidarity Initiative.
The report has alleged “massive abuses” of human rights by state and non-state actors.
“Human rights abuses against India’s social and religious minorities have been on the ascendance since the BJP government came to power. This grim reality is already being acknowledged within India as well as internationally,” the report, released at the Rayburn House office building at the US Capitol, alleged.
Running into more than 60 pages, the report alleged the unprecedented success of the BJP post 2014 has provided a “tremendous fillip to Hindu supremacist forces” who form a significant portion of its base.
“The latter’s attacks on religious minorities have amplified. State agencies, including law enforcement and the bureaucracy are constitutionally mandated to act against such bigotry and supremacism. Alarmingly, these institutions are now under the control of the very Hindu ultranationalist forces who have run anti-minority campaigns,” it alleged, adding that impunity for police and security officials has touched a new high in India in recent years.
“Impunity has also extended to BJP politicians, including those in elected offices, and supremacist groups that have been carrying out campaigns of vigilantism against the minorities.
“Legal challenges against police officials are rare; their prosecutions rarer and convictions next to nil. Trials are delayed. Threats of violence invariably force families and witnesses to withdraw complaints and reverse testimonies. The Indian state has made a mockery of provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for strict punishment for excesses by law enforcement officials,” the report alleged.
Alleging that the assault on freedom of expression has worsened in India in the last three years, it said federal and state governments have increasingly used archaic legislation that criminalises sedition to crack down on the opponents — including university and college students — of the government and its policies.