02/27/2018, 15.06
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Amnesty International reports recurring human rights violations in India in 2017

by Nirmala Carvalho

The human rights group just released its annual report on the state of the world's human rights. In India, the authorities have been openly critical of human rights defenders. Mass violence has intensified, including by the cow vigilante groups.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Human rights violations were constant in India last year, this according to Amnesty International Report 2017/18: The State of The World's Human Rights, which was released on 22 February.

Looking at South Asia, the organisation reports scores of violent incidents against religious minorities, in particular Muslims, who are the victims of a growing demonisation by radical Hindu nationalist groups.

The study notes that “Adivasi communities continue to be displaced by industrial projects”, and hate crimes against the Dalits are widespread.

Christians too have suffered, Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews.

"The GCIC has been documenting attacks against Christians for decades. Last year we did not [register] only the attacks, but also [noted] an increase in the fear of reprisals among vulnerable Christian communities."

For Amnesty, Indian authorities have been “openly critical of human rights defenders and organizations, contributing to a climate of hostility against them.”

Mass violence has intensified, including by cow vigilante groups who claim the right to defend Hinduism’s sacred animal and attack anyone who butchers cattle.

According to Amnesty, press freedom and free speech in universities are also under attack. “India failed to respect its human rights commitments made before the UN Human Rights Council,” the human rights group writes.

Official statistics released in November show more than 40,000 crimes against Scheduled Castes in 2016.

“Several incidents were reported of members of dominant castes attacking Dalits for accessing public and social spaces or for perceived caste transgressions.”

Activists report that at least 90 Dalits employed as manual waste collectors died during the year cleaning sewers, despite the practice being prohibited. “Many of those killed were illegally employed by government agencies.”

"Tribal people and poor Dalits are the most affected,’ said Sajan k George.  “Three days ago, a 27-year-old tribal man was beaten to death for allegedly stealing some rice in a store in Kerala. A mob tied him up, beat him, and then took selfies with him. It seems that people's conscience has been dimmed."

"The rash of hate crimes and the spike of communal violence offers a dismal picture of the loss of humanity,” George added. “And crimes against women and children give a bleak picture of the state of the common man."

Today "majoritarianism in India is dominant and vocal in every sphere of life.”

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