Human Rights Watch writes to European Union, says Modi govt undermining democracy

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Little over a month after it slammed Indian government over JNU row, the Humran Rights Watch has written to the European Union conveying its grave concern over democracy and diversity under the Narendra Modi government.

These are the similar sentiments, the HRW had expressed in February while commenting on the central government’s handling of the JNU crisis.

Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director of the Human Rights Watch said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi is promoting Indian democracy around the world as an attractive market, and yet back home, his administration is cracking down on peaceful dissent. Failing to uphold basic human rights is not a good global message.”

According to a report in The Hindu, the HRW has conveyed the same sentiments about the BJP-led central government to the EU. In its letter, sent to the EU a day before its summit with India on 30 March , the HRW said that ‘Indian government seeks foreign investments abroad citing Indian democracy and diversity, but uses harsh laws to undermine the same.’

The letter said, “In January 2015, the government barred Priya Pillai, a Greenpeace India activist, from boarding a flight to London where she was to speak to members of the British Parliament, alleging that her testimony would have portrayed the government in a negative light.”

The nine-page document reminded EU members that have committed to support programmes such as Digital India and Smart City Project that they should ensure that the flagship programmes are not used to deny citizens’ fundamental rights. The HRW reserved its strongest comments for the “inflammatory remarks against minorities” by the ruling BJP.

On JNU row, the HRW had said, ““The BJP government seems eager to punish peaceful speech – but less willing to investigate supporters who commit violence in the name of nationalism. The authorities not only need to find out why BJP supporters were apparently involved in an assault inside a court, but also why the police did nothing.”

 

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