Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Human Rights Watch calls on India to repeal its ‘discriminatory’ citizenship law


Human Rights Watch, a prominent international watchdog body, has called on India to repeal its Citizenship Amendment Act and to discard a planned national citizenship registry.  

The 82-page report, Shoot the Traitors’: Discrimination Against Muslims Under India’s New Citizenship Policy, HRW said the act, together with a planned nationwide verification process to identify “illegal migrants,” can threaten the citizenship rights of millions of Indian Muslims.

The report also said the new Indian measures have also spurred violence against Muslims.

It says the police and other officials have repeatedly failed to intervene when government supporters attacked those protesting the new citizenship policies. The police, however, have been quick to arrest critics of the policy and disperse their peaceful demonstrations, including by using excessive and lethal force.

“India’s prime minister (Narendra Modi) has appealed for a united fight against COVID-19, but has yet to call for unity in the fight against anti-Muslim violence and discrimination,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Thursday.

“Government policies have opened the door for mob violence and police inaction that have instilled fear among Muslims and other minority communities throughout the country,” she said.

HRW, which is based in New York, said the report is based on more than 100 interviews with victims of abuse and their families from Delhi and the states of Assam and Uttar Pradesh, as well as with legal experts, academics, activists, and police officials.

It must be noted that in occupied Kashmir, the chemist shops and pharmacies are facing acute shortage of life-saving medicines due to continued lockdown, which was imposed by India in August, 2019, and is intensified last month in the name of preventing the spread of coronavirus in the territory.

According to Kashmir Media Service, the supply of medicines and other essential commodities to occupied Kashmir are badly hit after Modi-led government repealed the special status of the territory and placed it under military siege.

The occupation authorities have tightened the siege on March 18 when the first case of coronavirus was reported in the occupied territory.


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