IAMC Weekly News Digest, 26th February 2021
Anti-minority bias in India has spread to the courts and the police, Human Rights Watch said Friday, amid months-long protests by farmers that authorities vilify and brand as Sikh separatist demonstrations. The watchdog said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government had adopted policies that systematically discriminate against minorities in the country of 1.34 billion people. In a statement, issued ahead of the first anniversary of the Delhi communal riots, HRW said the authorities had not conducted fair probe into the riots instigated allegedly by ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders….
Citing damning examples of Reagan era policies that have led to irreparable damage to the US’s farmers, 87 farmers’ unions in the country have extended solidarity to the ongoing protests by farmers in India. In a strong letter, the organisations draw a sharp connection between how agriculture has been affected by “forces of neoliberalism” in both India and the US. The unions began the letter by quoting Ghazipur protester Ringhu Yaspal, who says, “Agriculture has turned into a slow poison. It’s better to die fighting here.” The unions called the ongoing protests at Delhi’s borders “one of the world’s most vibrant protests in history.”… Notably, the unions recognise the role of the US government in creating the current imbroglio….
UN human rights experts are concerned India’s decision to end Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy and enact new laws could curtail the previous level of political participation of Muslim and other minorities in the country, as well as potentially discriminate against them in important matters including employment and land ownership…. “The loss of autonomy and the imposition of direct rule by the Government in New Delhi suggests the people of Jammu and Kashmir no longer have their own government and have lost power to legislate or amend laws in the region to ensure the protection of their rights as minorities,” said Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on minority issues and Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief. “The number of successful applicants for domicile certificates that appear to be from outside Jammu and Kashmir raises concerns that demographic change on a linguistic, religious and ethnic basis is already underway,” said the experts…. The experts are in contact with the Government on this matter.