IAMC Weekly News Digest, 16th July 2021
…. India’s anti-sedition law traces its roots to the British Raj. Introduced in 1870, it was used primarily to quell political opposition and the freedom movement. Independent India continues to use the law as a tool of oppression, increasingly so over the past few years. An Article 14 database of sedition cases between 2009 and 2020 shows that 96% of such cases filed against 405 Indians for criticising politicians and governments over the last decade were registered after 2014.… this report investigates the use of the sedition charge as a political tool, to incite violence and to tip the scales in local rivalries…. Across India, 149 accused faced sedition charges for “critical” and/or “derogatory” remarks against Modi, 144 against Uttar Pradesh (UP) chief minister Yogi Adityanath. These accused include students, journalists, opposition party politicians and activists….
Stan Swamy, who was 84, was jailed last October on terrorism charges which UN Special Rapporteur highlighting the work of human rights defenders worldwide, Mary Lawlor, insisted were fabricated. The Jesuit priest faced harassment and repeated interrogations in prison and died in custody on 5 July, despite requests for his release as his health deteriorated, she said. In a statement, Ms. Lawlor explained that Father Swamy “had dedicated much of his life to defending the rights of indigenous peoples and the Adivasi minority” and that his death “will forever remain a stain on India’s human rights record”….
…. International Christian Concern…. said the Department of State in the US must prioritize religious freedom, minority rights, and the repeal of anticonversion laws in its bilateral conversations with India and should pressure the Narendra Modi administration to condemn specific instances of violence against religious minorities…. The US should publicly impose measured economic consequences on India for its behavior, Christian group demanded. “…the US should implement targeted sanctions and visa bans on persons known to persecuting religious minorities. The Global Magnitsky sanctioning authority and others provide an array of measured economic responses on individuals and move away from broader sanctioning powers that could negatively impact the country as a whole. In addition to individual sanctions, entity level sanctions should be considered as well, including on the Bajrang Dal, the RSS, the VHP, radical members of BJP leadership, and Hindu Munnani,” the group demanded. The US government should monitor Hindu extremism in America, which is peddled through various front organisations that maintain close ties to Hindutva organisations across India and advocate for Hindutva policies and ideologies, ICC said….