Amnesty criticizes India for intolerance for dissent

NEW DELHI - Amnesty International has joined a growing international chorus accusing India of supporting a climate of intolerance by cracking down on dissent through arbitrary arrests, caste-based discrimination, extrajudicial killings and attacks on freedom of expression.

See Full Article

The rights group said in its annual international report, published Wednesday, that India's Hindu nationalist government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had failed to prevent hundreds of incidents of communal violence, usually involving members of the Hindu majority pitted against Muslims or other minorities. Instead, ruling party lawmakers and politicians were fueling religious tensions with provocative speeches and justifications for the violence, it said.

Amnesty's report also highlights the government's continued harassment of civil society groups critical of official policies over the past year, as well as government legal action aimed at controlling foreign funds for nongovernmental organizations.

"Over 3,200 people were being held in January under administrative detention on executive orders without charge or trial," the report said, adding that state authorities used "anti-terror" laws to illegally hold activists and protesters in custody.

The report is the latest criticism to be levelled at Modi's government after a year fraught with communal tension as members of India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party try to impose their brand of hyper-nationalism.

Dozens of Indian authors, scientists, historians and film industry workers have returned national awards to protest the trend, which has seen arrests of student protesters, the murder of three atheist scholars and mob killings over rumours of cow slaughter. Among India's majority Hindu population, cows are considered sacred.

On Monday, both the New York Times and Le Monde newspapers ran editorials lambasting Modi's government. The Times editorial board said the ongoing confrontation between Hindu nationalists and free-speech advocates "raises serious concerns about Modi's governance and may further stall any progress in Parliament on economic reforms."

Last week, a group of 133 university professors from around the world - including linguist Noam Chomsky, Nobel-winning novelist Orphan Pamuk and economist James Galbraith - said the recent arrest of a student leader on sedition charges "is further evidence of the present government's deeply authoritarian nature, intolerant of any dissent, setting aside India's longstanding commitment to toleration and plurality of opinion."

Modi and his government have remained largely unmoved by the criticism, saying little in response other than to denounce it as anti-government propaganda designed to distract from the government's agenda. Meanwhile, Modi has insisted he is prime minister for all of India, and not just Hindus, and urged the nation to instead focus on growing the economy.

The Amnesty report also said that prisoner safety remained a serious concern, and that "over 282,000 prisoners - 68 per cent of the total prison population - were pretrial detainees." Most prisons are badly overcrowded, while torture and abuse in police or judicial custody led the country's Supreme Court last year to demand that state governments install closed-circuit television cameras within the next two years.

It questioned the Indian Parliament's defeat of legislation to decriminalize same-sex relations, noting that the country was still adhering to a colonial-era law that makes homosexuality a crime punishable by up to a decade in prison.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Record-breaking Canadian sniper saved Iraqi lives according to special forces general

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The sniper who shattered the record for the longest confirmed kill also saved lives, the deputy commander of Canadian special forces said. Brig.-Gen. Peter Dawe told The Canadian Press on Wednesday that fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant were gathering for an attack on an unsuspecting Iraqi military unit when the Canadian commando fired the 3.5-kilometre shot. Source
  • NAFTA lawsuits target Canada most, U.S. hasn't lost yet

    Canada News CTV News
    OTTAWA - When it comes to the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada can safely claim the title of biggest loser in terms of lawsuits. Since the agreement came into force in 1994, Canada has been sued 39 times by foreign companies claiming Canadian policies have violated their rights under NAFTA. Source
  • $1.2B flood protection, makeover project annouced for Toronto waterfront

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A portion of Toronto's waterfront is set to undergo a nearly $1.2 billion flood protection project that will lead to a makeover of the area. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Mayor John Tory announced the Toronto Port Lands Flood Protection project at a joint news conference on Wednesday. Source
  • CTV National News Chief Anchor Lisa LaFlamme inducted to Order of Ontario

    Canada News CTV News
    Lisa LaFlamme, chief anchor and senior editor of CTV National News, has been appointed to the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour. LaFlamme received the honour in a ceremony Wednesday in Toronto alongside 25 other inductees. Source
  • Cybertip.ca warns parents about Snapchat's new map feature

    Canada News CBC News
    A Canadian child protection group is warning parents about a new feature in a popular app that could allow predators to track teens. Cybertip.ca, a program run by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, sent out a Cybertip alert on Tuesday about a new Snapchat feature called Snap Map. Source
  • Iqaluit prepares for royal visit by Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall

    Canada News CTV News
    IQALUIT, Nunavut - The City of Iqaluit is gearing up for the arrival of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who are expected to land Thursday from the U.K. on a Canadian Forces Airbus. Source
  • Arizona wildfire forces thousands of people from their homes

    World News CTV News
    PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. -- A wildfire burning Wednesday through a dense Arizona forest has forced thousands of people from their homes, closed a major road and created a huge plume of smoke over the same area devastated by a blaze that killed 19 firefighters four years ago. Source
  • 'Freedom!': Driver plows down Ten Commandments at Arkansas Capitol on Facebook Live [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A man yelled “Freedom!” as he crashed his vehicle into Arkansas’ new Ten Commandments monument early Wednesday, nearly three years after he was arrested in the destruction of Oklahoma’s monument at its state capitol, authorities said. Source
  • 'Don't expect much'; Peter Mansbridge's sign-off from 'The National' will be low-key

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    TORONTO — Peter Mansbridge doesn’t want to make a fuss about leaving the anchor’s chair at CBC’s “The National.” Nearly a year after telling viewers he planned to retire from the public broadcaster’s flagship program, the 68-year-old newsman who defined an era at CBC News plans to sign-off for the final time with little fanfare. Source
  • Trump heading to France for Bastille Day celebrations

    World News CBC News
    U.S. President Donald Trump plans to celebrate Bastille Day in France. The White House announced Wednesday that Trump has accepted French President Emmanuel Macron's invitation to help celebrate France's national holiday on July 14. Macron invited Trump to visit when they met for the first time at a NATO summit in Brussels in late May. Source