Amnesty criticizes India for intolerance of 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

  • Ex-ski coach facing sex assault charges will learn his fate in June

    Canada News CTV News
    SAINT-JEROME, Que. -- A judge will hand down his verdict in June in the case of a former national ski coach charged with dozens of sex-related offences against girls and young women. Bertrand Charest's trial on 57 charges, including sexual assault and breach of trust, ended this week. Source
  • Canadian with alleged terror ties detained in Turkey

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A Canadian man with alleged connections to a Daesh terrorist group has reportedly been arrested in Turkey. According to Turkish news site Daily Sabah, counter-terrorism police arrested Wassim Bouhadou at Adana Airport on Thursday. It's believed Bouhadou – who has dual Algerian-Canadian citizenship – was headed to Europe after traveling to Istanbul on March 10. Source
  • Police: MS-13 gang member deported four times abused child

    World News Toronto Sun
    HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — A member of the MS-13 street gang who had been deported from the U.S. four times stabbed two women and sexually assaulted a 2-year-old girl in a New York City suburb, police said Thursday. Source
  • 'Overcrowded' Hamilton house near McMaster has 12 bedrooms

    Canada News CBC News
    At the end of a quiet cul-de-sac near McMaster University, a nondescript tan house sits on the edge of a ravine. It's zoned as a single-family home. But it has 12 bedrooms. Inside, a long, white hallway holds bedroom door after bedroom door, identified by gold numbers, each with its own lock. Source
  • Spring remains elusive in Atlantic Canada as gusty storm sweeps through

    Canada News CTV News
    HALIFAX -- Spring remained elusive in parts of the Maritimes on Thursday after a storm swept through the region, knocking out power and closing schools. The Canso causeway to Cape Breton was closed in the morning as a winter storm blasted the area, whipping up powerful gusts. Source
  • Inmates tunnel out of Mexican prison

    World News Toronto Sun
    MEXICO CITY — A group of 29 inmates tunneled their way out of a prison in the northern Mexico border state of Tamaulipas. One of the inmates shot to death a passing motorist in an apparent carjacking as part of the mass escape in the state capital, Ciudad Victoria. Source
  • Donald Trump Jr. called a 'disgrace' for slamming London Mayor Sadiq Khan after attack

    World News CBC News
    Donald Trump Jr. is facing criticism for a tweet sent in the hours after Wednesday's London attack that included a months-old comment from London Mayor Sadiq Khan that terror attacks are part of living in a big city, but left out that Khan was noting that residents need to "be prepared" for such attacks. Source
  • Belgium tightens security after driver tries to ram shopping area

    World News CBC News
    Belgian authorities tightened security Thursday in the port city of Antwerp after a Frenchman drove his car at high speed through a busy shopping area, forcing pedestrians to jump out of the way. French President François Hollande compared the incident to the attack in London that that left three people dead Wednesday, saying the Frenchman was "trying to kill people or create a dramatic event. Source
  • Paying more for booze, tobacco and even weed

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    Smoke? Drink? Take the bus? The federal budget delivered this week will leave you just a little less well off. While most of the budget tax hike targets are predictable — tobacco and alcohol — the Justin Trudeau government is also axing the popular Public Transit Tax Credit, saving Ottawa more than $200 million a year. Source
  • U.S. to approve Keystone XL pipeline

    World News Toronto Sun
    WASHINGTON — Senior U.S. officials say the State Department will recommend approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, clearing the way for the White House to formally approve it. Two officials say Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon will issue the recommendation Friday. Source