Crackdown on opposition shows Modi govt’s blatant disregard for human rights: Amnesty

LONDON: Amnesty International has said that Narendra Modi-led Indian government’s growing crackdown on rights defenders, journalists, peaceful dissent and political opposition is a clear depiction of its blatant disregard for human rights and rule of law.

Aakar Patel, chair of board at Amnesty International India, was responding to the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, Delhi state Chief Minister and opposition leader from the Aam Aadmi Party, along with freezing of bank accounts of another leading opposition party, Indian National Congress.

In a statement posted on Amnesty International’s website, Aakar Patel said, “The BJP led Indian government’s crackdown on peaceful dissent and opposition has now reached a crisis point.

The authorities have repeatedly exploited and weaponized various financial and terrorism laws to systematically crackdown on human rights defenders, activists, critics, non-profit organisations, journalists, students, academics and political opposition. The arrest of Arvind Kejriwal and the freezing of Indian National Congress’ bank accounts a few weeks before India holds its general elections show the authorities’ blatant failure to uphold the country’s international human rights obligations.

“What we are witnessing is a brutal crackdown on human rights including through the misuse of central investigative and financial agencies, attacks on peaceful protests, arbitrary arrests, use and export of invasive spyware for unlawful surveillance, systematic discrimination against religious minorities to feed into their majoritarian Hindutva politics and targeted suspension of opposition leaders from the Parliament who dare to hold the authorities to account”, he said.

He urged the Indian authorities to respect, protect, promote and fulfill the human rights of everyone in the country including human rights defenders, activists, and opposition candidates before, during and after the general elections. “Authorities must also ensure access to justice and effective remedies for victims of human rights violations”, he added.

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