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29 Jan 2021

Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch

India: Human Rights Watch expresses concerns over fundamental freedoms as govt. critics & protestors met with repression

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“Indian Authorities Lash Out at Protests”, 29 January 2021

The government of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is presiding over a dangerous regression in free speech rights in pursuit of its Hindu nationalist agenda.

Peaceful activists protesting against discriminatory citizenship policies, or calling for the protection of long marginalized Dalit and Adivasi communities, already face politically motivated charges. Now farmers, many of them Sikh, who have been peacefully protesting since November, are facing criticism for opposing controversial new farm laws…

Increasingly in Modi’s India, independent institutions including investigators, prosecutors, and the courts, which should be impartially defending rights, are instead protecting government supporters and targeting its critics.

BJP leaders were quick to complain after the arrest of a pro-government news anchor. … But the same authorities opposed bail for the journalist Siddique Kappan after he was arrested on his way to report on the gang rape of a Dalit woman in Uttar Pradesh state.

Indian authorities like to boast of the country’s democracy and pluralism. But their actions all too often belie their words.