IAMC Weekly News Digest, 26th March 2021
In the last few weeks, India’s already beleaguered reputation has taken two more hits. Two major global organizations that assess the state of freedom and democracy around the world, Freedom House, based in Washington, and Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), based at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, released their annual assessments. In both reports, India’s standing tumbled. Until last year, Freedom House had listed India as “free.” In the latest report, it downgraded the country to “partly free.” The V-Dem report went even further; it listed India as an “electoral autocracy,” below its evaluation of last year that had characterized the country’s status as “highly uncertain.” The V-Dem rating was particularly difficult for India, since it placed the country on par with rival Pakistan and behind Bangladesh….
“Indian govt is violating fundamental human rights of its agitating citizens,” Chandrasekhar Azad to UNHRC
Bhim Army Chief Chandrashekhar Azad Ravan has raised the issue of human rights violations with the agitators during the farmer’s protests and the anti-CAA movement before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)…. Azad spoke to the UNHRC through video conferencing on the issue of human rights violations against the farmers and “those associated with the anti-CAA movement.”… “Minorities and Dalits are especially being targeted and persecuted in the country. The agitating youth are being implicated in fake and false cases so that their voice can be suppressed,” he said…. Azad also referred to the anti-CAA movement during this period, saying that the opposition was suppressed by implicating these anti-CAA agitators in fake and false cases. “The government of India wants to suppress every voice that arises in opposition to the government,” he said….
Activist Akhil Gogoi on Tuesday, 23 March, penned a letter alleging physical and mental torture while he was in custody. He claimed that he was offered immediate bail by the National Investigations Agency (NIA) on the condition that he joined either the BJP or the RSS. Gogoi has been imprisoned ever since his involvement in the Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (anti-CAA) protests…. “When I was arguing against the insulting offer, they came out with another proposal of joining the BJP. They said I could contest the Assembly against a vacant seat and become a minister.” The peasant leader also alleged that he was offered Rs 20 crore to resign from the peasant body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and start an NGO that would work against the Assamese people’s conversion to Christianity, PTI reported…. Upon his refusal, he was reportedly called a “disobedient citizen” and charged in extreme cases….