USCIRF slams Indian government’s failure to protect minorities
Religious freedom and the human rights related to it are threatened in India due to the government policies’ failure to protect minorities, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom said on Tuesday.
The panel reiterated its recommendation from April that the United States government should designate India as a “country of particular concern” for engaging in or tolerating systematic violations of religious freedom.
The commission said that in 2022, the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)- led government at the national, state, and local levels promoted policies that targeted religious conversion, interfaith relationships, and cow slaughter.
It also cited the usage of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act to suppress critical voices, especially religious minorities and those advocating on their behalf.
The report also said that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in conjunction with the National Register of Citizens “could subject Indian Muslims and others not covered to statelessness, deportation, and prolonged detention.”
However, in July, the Indian government had blatantly rejected the findings of the commission made in April, calling them biased and inaccurate.
UN demands release of Kashmiri activist who completed one year of incarceration
The arrest and detention of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez has a chilling effect on civil society, rights activists, and journalists in the region, UN experts warned, reiterating their call for his immediate and unconditional release by the Indian Government.
“We are dismayed at the continued deprivation of liberty of Mr. Parvez, in what is increasingly proving to be an act of retaliation against a human rights defender for his tireless work documenting and reporting serious human rights violations, including enforced disappearances and unlawful killings in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir,” the experts said on the one-year anniversary of his arrest.
Parvez was arrested on terrorism and other charges on 22 November 2021. His detention has been extended five times under provisions of the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). If convicted, he could face up to 14 years of imprisonment or even the death penalty.
Muslim politician Azam Khan gets bail in case falsely charging him for hate speech
Muslim politician and leader Azam Khan has been granted bail by a lower court in a case that falsely accused of “hate speech.”He was convicted in a 2019 case filed over his comments against Hindu extremist Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
After the conviction, the Muslim leader was also stripped of his constitutional right to vote, based on a complaint by a BJP candidate Akash Saxena, who sought the removal of Azam Khan’s name from the electoral roll in Rampur district.
Khan has faced nearly 90 cases against him since Adityanath came to power in 2017. Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, has emerged as one of the most Islamophobic administrations in India.