This is the first time in recent times that US has directly implicated Indian government officials in human rights abuses.

Prashant Jha is the Washington DC-based US correspondent of Hindustan Times

On Tuesday, the US State Department released a strong and critical report on human rights in India in 2021.

“We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared values, and to that end we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India, including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police, and prison officials,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. (ANI)

…this is the first time in recent times that US has directly implicated Indian government officials in human rights abuses.

The Indian ministers did not respond on the dais.

Blinken’s remarks and the report come in the wake of a push by some progressive lawmakers in the Democratic Party, minority advocacy groups, and human rights organisations which have accused India of democratic backsliding in recent years. People familiar with the relationship said that the message appeared to be an effort to cater to a “domestic constituency” in the US.

Last week, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, at a congressional hearing, asked US deputy Secretary of State, Wendy Sherman, “How much does the Modi administration have to criminalise the act of being Muslim in India for us to say something? What will it take for us to outwardly criticise the action that the Modi administration is taking against its Muslim minorities?”

And in January, on India’s Republic Day, four Democratic lawmakers — Sentator Ed Markey and Congressmen Andy Levin, Jamie Raskin and Jim McGovern — had flagged an erosion in Indian democracy and secularism.

Commenting on Blinken’s remarks, political scientist Devesh Kapur of Johns Hopkins University, who has extensively worked on India’s internal security and state capacity, said it was important to understand the larger division of power in India’s federal architecture.

“Does India have human rights issues in prison and with the police? Yes. But we should remember that police and law and order are state subjects. Are there undertrials waiting for long? Yes. But we should remember that district courts have huge pendency issues. All of this is happening largely at the state-level.”

Kapur added that the Centre’s actions haven’t helped. “There are, of course, now newer issues with central legislations which can be considered excessive, such as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. We also know that there is intolerance, be it with government actions in Kashmir, or vis a vis attitude to critics. But while discussing human rights violations, it is important to keep India’s federal architecture in mind.”

US report points to widespread human rights abuses in India

US State Department says it has received credible reports of violence against Muslims – File Photo: Dawn News

The latest report released by the US State Department has identified widespread human rights violations in India.

According to the Dawn newspaper, these violations include serious human rights violations, such as extrajudicial killings by government agents, violence against Muslims and massacres in occupied Kashmir by government and non-government forces.

A report released earlier this week by a senior US official warned that if India increased its oil exports from Russia, it would have repercussions.

U.S. human rights groups have also noted that the Indian government has recently banned schoolgirls from wearing the hijab in the state of Karnataka.

The move drew international criticism, but the state High Court upheld the ban.

The State Department says it has received credible reports of Muslims being targeted in parts of India.

The report added that “in some areas, the Muslim community has been the victim of sectarian and racist violence, with violence continuing throughout the year, accusing the Muslim community of physical abuse, prejudice, forced migration and cattle smuggling.” ۔

The State Department says it has received reports of “massive human rights violations” in India, including “unlawful and arbitrary killings, extrajudicial killings by the government or its agents, torture and police and prisons.” Cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by the authorities.

The report added another area of concern, citing “severe and deadly prison conditions, arbitrary arrests and detentions by government officials, political imprisonment or detention, and arbitrary or illegal interference with confidentiality.” Gone

The report said that India is a democratic country but it is common here to use violence, threats of violence, or arbitrary arrests or prosecution of journalists, use criminal contempt laws to prosecute social media speeches while freedom of expression is common. Freedom of the Internet, including opinions and media, is restricted.

India has “extremely strict rules on funding NGOs and civil society organizations, or operations and rehabilitation of refugees.”

The report highlights another concern: “serious government corruption, governmental harassment of national and international human rights organizations.”