Minority Rights in India ? - Seeker's Thoughts

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Minority Rights in India ?


“Tens of thousands of Indians from all religious backgrounds have taken to the streets to protest this jarring attack on theirs' country’s character, but they have faced police violence in return.” According to the Freedom House.


Repressive measures against minorities and protesters in India have been criticized by US democracy watchdog Freedom House, in a report warning of democratic decline worldwide.





      Also Read -  The state of democracy around the world


Freedom House’s “Freedom in the World 2020” report, which relied on 150 analysts and advisers looking at 210 countries and territories, rated 43% of countries as “free.” The report found the share of free countries declines by 3% in the last decade.

Its Freedom in the World report 2020 targets the world's largest democracy for a "harsh crackdown on political rights and civil liberties" including an almost seven-month internet shutdown in the formerly autonomous region of Kashmir.

The controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), a citizenship register in the state of Assam rendering millions stateless, the suppression of protests, as well as violence and harassment against journalists and academics, were also highlighted as "threatening the democratic future of a country long seen as a potential bulwark of freedom in Asia".




"The Indian Government's alarming departures from democratic norms under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) could blur the values-based distinction between Beijing and New Delhi," the report warned.

Also Read..........
1. What China does to Muslims? 

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India's 1950 Constitution enshrines equal treatment for every religion.
But in recent decades, Hindu nationalists have increasingly challenged state secularism, arguing that India's identity is fundamentally a Hindu one.

The BJP denies its policies are anti-Muslim, but the country's Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah has referred to Muslims in the state of Assam as "termites".

The Indian Government was contacted for comment on the report but had not responded by the time of publication.
To quell recent protests, Mr. Modi's Government invoked a colonial-era law banning public gatherings. Internet blackouts have been enacted in some states.

"It's very concerning to see that the kinds of repression that we've seen in much more authoritarian contexts are getting repeated in a democracy,"



Many have drawn comparisons between recent violence in Delhi and intercommoned riots in Gujarat that killed some 1,000 people — mostly Muslims — when Mr. Modi was chief minister.

India has ranked 83rd in the ‘Freedom in the World 2020’ report along with Timor-Leste and Senegal. This is near the bottom of the list of the countries categorised as “Free”, with only Tunisia receiving a lower score. India fell sharply by four points, the worst decline among the world’s 25 largest democracies this year.

The report also links democratic India to dictatorial China for eradicating pluralism. It says, “Just as Chinese officials vocally defended acts of state repression against Uighurs and other Muslim groups before international audiences in 2019, Modi firmly rejected criticism of his Hindu nationalist policies, which included a series of new measures that affected India’s Muslim populations from one end of the country to the other.’’

The report notes, “Several of India’s neighbors have persecuted religious minorities for many years. But instead of stressing the contrast with its own traditions and seeking to propagate them abroad, India is moving toward the lower standards of its region.’’
Freedom House shows the new union territory of Jammu and Kashmir as having experienced one of the five largest single-year score declines of the past 10 years, and “its freedom status dropped to not free.


According to the Freedom House President Mike Abramowitz, This year’s report is deeply concerning in that it finds that we are in the 14th year of a global recession in democracy,” “This year’s report is deeply concerning in that it finds that we are in the 14th year of a global recession in democracy,”
5 of 41 democracies that have been rated as free since 1985 experienced losses in freedom. The United States’ freedom score remained flat in the past year, but it has declined 8 points on a 100-point scale in the last 10 years.
“The single most important thing that could happen to turn around the democracy recession is for the United States to unequivocally commit to strengthening democracy in our own country and once again becoming a champion for human rights and democracy around the world, The 43% of countries rated as “free” is the lowest percentage since 1996.


The report that has been released annually since 1973, said 32% of countries scored “partly free” and 25% rated “not free.”

Compared to 14 years ago, nearly twice as many countries are doing worse as are doing better: 116 countries have a lower score than they did 14 years ago, while only 62 have a better score.

Over this time democratic states have lessened their support for the expansion of freedom on the international stage, meanwhile dictatorships have intensified their domestic repression and expanded their global influence. They’ve done this through proxy wars, election interference, and censorship beyond their borders.”

                            

“The single most important thing that could happen to turn around the democracy recession is for the United States to unequivocally commit to strengthening democracy in our own country and once again becoming a champion for human rights and democracy around the world.
                                       

Bhim _UPI - 526683880@icic

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