Know 50 Facts from India 2016 Human Rights Report by US Department
Country – India
Government – BJP, PM Narendra Modi
A US Government Department report on India and Human Rights
Below are the important 50 facts from India 2016 Human Rights Report –
The most significant human rights problems involved instances of police and security force abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and rape; corruption, which remained widespread and contributed to ineffective responses to crimes, including those against women, children, and members of Scheduled Castes (SCs) or Scheduled Tribes (STs); and societal violence based on gender, religious affiliation, and caste or tribe
Other human rights problems included disappearances, hazardous prison conditions, arbitrary arrest and detention, and lengthy pretrial detention. Court backlogs delayed or denied justice, including through lengthy pretrial detention and denial of due process.
The government placed restrictions on foreign funding of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including some whose views the government believed were not in the “national or public interest,” curtailing the work of civil society.
There were instances of infringement of privacy rights. The law in six states restricted religious conversion, and there were reports of arrests but no reports of convictions under those laws. Some limits on the freedom of movement continued.
Rape, domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, honor killings, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women and girls remained serious societal problems. Child abuse, female genital mutilation and cutting, and forced and early marriage were problems. Trafficking in persons, including widespread bonded and forced labor of children and adults, and sex trafficking of children and adults for prostitution, were serious problems. Societal discrimination against persons with disabilities and indigenous persons continued, as did discrimination and violence based on gender identity, sexual orientation, and persons with HIV.
A lack of accountability for misconduct at all levels of government persisted, contributing to widespread impunity. Investigations and prosecutions of individual cases took place, but lax enforcement, a shortage of trained police officers, and an overburdened and under resourced court system contributed to infrequent convictions.
There were 104 reported police “encounter deaths” --a term used to describe any encounter between the security or police forces and alleged criminals or insurgents that results in a death--registered countrywide by the Investigation Division of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), according to Ministry of Home Affairs 2015 data. The Telangana government established a special investigation team to investigate the April 2015 deaths of five prisoners killed by police in Nalgonda District, Telangana, while being transported to a court in Hyderabad for trial. At the year’s end, the special investigation team had yet to submit its report
to the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad
In August 2015, the NHRC ordered the central government to pay 500,000 rupees ($7,500) as compensation for the 2011 Border Security Force killing of Felani Khatun. During the year, the central government rejected the NHRC recommendation and did not pay the compensation. Felani’s family and Kolkata based rights group MASUM petitioned the Supreme Court against the government’s refusal to pay compensation.
On August 8, Telangana security personnel fatally shot an individual, described by police as a former Maoist insurgent, who was a witness in an alleged 2005 “encounter” case involving a joint Rajasthan and Gujarat antiterrorism squad. A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court trial in Mumbai continued its deliberations on the 2005 case.
On October 31, Madhya Pradesh police reportedly killed eight suspected members of the outlawed Students’ Islamic Movement of India, after they allegedly murdered a prison guard and escaped from the high-security Central Jail of Bhopal.
Decisions by central and state authorities not to prosecute police or security officials despite reports of evidence in certain cases remained a problem. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported 97 cases of custodial deaths in 2015 with Maharashtra reporting the highest number of cases at 19. Uttar Pradesh reported nine cases and Punjab three cases.
In September, the central government denied a request to visit Jammu and Kashmir by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the NHRC. The government also denied NHRC access to Manipur.
On July 8, the Supreme Court ruled 1,528 alleged “encounter” cases in Manipur during the last 20 years must be investigated and armed forces personnel should not be immune from prosecution if the investigations disclosed criminal conduct. The ruling stated the indefinite deployment of armed forces under AFSPA “mocks India’s democratic process.”
On August 9, human rights activist Irom Sharmila ended her 16-year hunger strike to protest of the imposition of AFSPA in Manipur. Sharmila remained in police custody for 16 years for violating a law that criminalizes attempted suicide. She initiated her strike after federal paramilitary forces killed 10 civilians in 2000
On June 17, a Gujarat special court convicted 24 individuals (11 of whom were sentenced to life imprisonment), and acquitted 36 others for their role in the Gulberg Society killings in 2002, when a rioting mob killed 69 individuals during communal unrest. A separate case filed by Zakia Jafri one of the Gulberg Society survivors, remained pending in the Gujarat High Court. The High Court also affirmed a 2013 lower court verdict exonerating senior Gujarat government
officials from culpability in the communal violence that engulfed the state from February to May 2002.
The law does not permit authorities to admit coerced confessions into evidence, but NGOs and citizens alleged authorities used torture to coerce confessions. In some instances authorities submitted these confessions as evidence in capital cases. Authorities allegedly also used torture to extort money or as summary punishment. According to human rights experts, the government continued to try
individuals arrested and charged under the repealed Prevention of Terrorism Act and Terrorist and Disruptive Activities Act. Under the repealed law, authorities treated a confession made to a police officer as admissible as evidence in court.
On July 8, police arrested environmental and human rights activist Piyush Manush and his associates, Esan Karthik and Muthu, for protesting the construction of a railway overpass in Salem, Tamil Nadu. The court granted bail to Karthik and Muthu on July 15. Manush did not receive bail and NGOs alleged that while in Salem Central Prison police bound his hands, beat him, and placed him in solitary confinement. On July 24, the NHRC issued a notice to the Tamil Nadu government requesting a response to the allegations.
In January, the CBI charged two police officials in Dharavi, Maharashtra with culpable homicide after a detainee died, allegedly from multiple injuries inflicted by the officers. Police initially claimed his death was due to meningitis. In June 2014 the Bombay High Court instructed CBI to take over the investigation from the Mumbai Crime Branch.
In April Kanyakumari District police arrested and detained 17 persons from the Kurava tribal community for alleged theft. According to local NGOs, police allegedly beat, tortured, and sexually assaulted the detainees over a period of 63 days. On July 8, the Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission initiated a probe into the conduct of the Kanyakumari Police.
Prisons were often severely overcrowded, and food, medical care, sanitation, and environmental conditions often were inadequate. Potable water was only occasionally available. Prisons and detention centers remained underfunded, understaffed, and lacking sufficient infrastructure. Prisoners were physically mistreated.
According to the NCRB Prison Statistics India 2015 report, there were 1,401 prisons in the country with an authorized capacity of 366,781 persons. The actual incarcerated population was 419,623. Persons awaiting trial accounted for more than two-thirds of the prison population. In Uttar Pradesh, occupancy at most prisons was two and sometimes three times the permitted capacity, according to an advisor appointed by the Supreme Court.
According to the NCRB 2015 report, overcrowding was most severe in Dadra and Nagar Haveli at 277 percent of capacity, while Chhattisgarh prisons were at 234 percent of capacity; and Delhi prisons at 227 percent of capacity. A 2016 study on Indian prison monitoring by Commonwealth
Human Rights Initiative cited little oversight of prisons, neglect of facilities, and
breaches of prisoner rights.
Human rights activist Khurram Pervez was arrested and detained by security forces in September prior to his departure to address the UN Human Rights Council on the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. On October 19, UN experts called on the government to release Pervez immediately. On November 30, authorities released Pervez after a court ruled his detention illegal.
The judicial system remained seriously overburdened and lacked modern case management systems, often delaying or denying justice. According to 2015-16 data released by the Supreme Court, there was a 43 percent vacancy of judges in the country’s 24 high courts as of October 1.
On April 25, after a 10-year investigation, the special Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act court in Mumbai acquitted nine Muslim defendants accused of bomb attacks in Malegaon, Maharashtra, in 2006 and 2008, which killed 31 and injured 312, The National Investigation Agency also filed charges against Hindu nationalists for perpetrating the same attacks. After investigations by three agencies--the Maharashtra Antiterrorism Squad, the Central Bureau of
Investigation, and the National Investigation Agency--the court dismissed all terror
charges due to lack of evidence.
On January 13, the Bombay High Court addressed a two-fold rise in reported custodial death and police torture cases from 2014 to 2015 and directed the Maharashtra government to submit a report to the court. The court criticized the government for its failure to install closed-circuit television cameras in police stations, despite a court order
According to NGO and media reports, the apparently indiscriminate use of shotguns loaded with birdshot by security forces to control crowds, including violent protests, in Jammu and Kashmir resulted in 87 civilian deaths and blinded hundreds more, including children.
According to Human Rights Watch, however, sedition and criminal defamation laws were used to prosecute citizens who criticize government officials or oppose state policies. In certain cases, local authorities arrested individuals under laws against hate speech for expressions of political
On February 12, Delhi police arrested Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and seven other students, charging them with sedition for allegedly shouting “anti-India” slogans at a February 9 protest.According to the NHRC, Kumar was “abused and physically assaulted” at court
On March 21, the Chhattisgarh police arrested journalist Prabhat Singh in Dantewada for allegedly sharing a message critical of the state police on a messaging application and charged him under the Information Technology Act.
On March 26, Chhattisgarh police arrested journalist Deepak Jaiswal for inquiring about the Prabhat Singh case. A court granted Jaiswal bail on June 6, and the Chhattisgarh High Court granted Prabhat Singh bail on June 22.
In February Asianet News channel anchor Sindhu Sooryakumar reportedly received more than
2,000 abusive calls and death threats after moderating a debate on Hinduism.
On June 9, Sakshi TV was taken off the air in Andhra Pradesh until June 22, after it publicized the hunger strike of Kapu caste leader Mudragada Padmanabham. Deputy Chief Minister N. Chinarajappa stated the channel would remain off-air as long as the hunger strike continued, since covering the protest could potentially disturb law and order in the state.
In a statement released on June 16, UN Special rapporteurs on human rights expressed the view that FCRA Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) “provisions were increasingly being used…to silence organizations involved in advocating civil, political, economic, social, environmental, or cultural priorities, which may differ from those backed by the Government.” The statement highlighted the suspension of foreign banking licenses for NGOs including Greenpeace India, Lawyers Collective, and the Sabrang Trust.
On January 6, media reported 24-year-old Anwar Sadiq of Malappuram in Kerala was charged with sedition for social media comments he allegedly made about a military officer killed during a counterterror operation at Pathankot Air Force Base
On March 25, two students from a town in Puttur, Karnataka, were arrested and later released for posting “Pakistan Ki Jai” (Hail Pakistan) on a phone messaging application during the India-Pakistan World T20 cricket match, according to media reports
According to Facebook’s January 2016 transparency report for the second half of 2015, the
government made 5,561 requests. Facebook complied with 51 percent of those requests.
According to media reports, in early November the Ministry of Home Affairs rejected FCRA registration renewals of 25 NGOs, including Lawyer’s Collective and Compassion International’s two primary partners. In addition, some NGOs were placed on a “prior permissions” list, which requires government preapproval of any transfer of funds from abroad. Several NGOs stated these actions threaten their ability to continue to operate in the country. In April, the UN special rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association published a legal analysis asserting that the FCRA did not conform to international law, principles, and standards.
Corruption was present at all levels of government. The CBI registered 237 cases of corruption between January and June. The commission operated a public hotline and a web portal. NGOs reported the payment of bribes to expedite services, such as police protection, school admission, water supply, or government assistance.
In July 2015, the Supreme Court ordered the CBI to take over a Madhya Pradesh state government investigation of fraud within the Professional Examination Board (Vyapam), a state government body that conducts school entrance and government service exams. Arrests in the case since the investigation began in 2013 included more than 2,000 individuals. In August, the CBI registered a complaint against 60 individuals and filed charges against a student candidate and an impersonator. The Madhya Pradesh High Court granted bail to some of the accused. The CBI was also investigating the deaths of 48 individuals over the span of five years,
including a journalist, who reported on the fraud.
On June 4, the Maharashtra agriculture and revenue minister, Eknath Khadse, resigned following allegations of corruption in a land deal involving his wife and son-in-law.
No national law addresses the practice of FGM/C. According to human rights groups and media reports, between 70 and 90 percent of Dawoodi Bohras, a population of approximately one million concentrated in Maharashtra and Gujarat, practiced various forms of FGM/C. On
June 4, the Bohra spiritual head, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, for the first time spoke publicly about the practice of FGM/C as an “act of religious purity,” and a religious obligation for all women and girls in the community. Prior to this statement, local congregations had issued directives calling on their members to refrain from practicing FGM/C where the procedure is legally banned. On May 7, a rival claimant for the sect’s leadership, Syedna Taher Fakhruddin, issued a public statement condemning FGM/C as “an un-Islamic and horrific practice” that should only be allowed after a girl attained adulthood and of her free volition
In community health centers, 70 percent of gynecologist positions remained unfilled, according to a 2012 report by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on rural health statistics. Only 13 percent of the centers had the requisite number of specialists. Poor health infrastructure disproportionately affected marginalized women, including homeless, Dalit and tribal women, those working on tea estates or in the informal labor sector, and women with disabilities
UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2016 report noted between 2008 and 2014, 47 percent of girls married before age 18, and 18 percent were married before the age of 15. According to the report, women married as children
Only 14 states had commissions for the protection of child rights, as mandated by law.
Child labor remained widespread. UNICEF estimated there were 29 million child laborers between the ages of five and 18. Some NGOs estimated the number to be significantly higher.
The Kolkata High Court passed an order in 2013 mandating the state government to provide accessibility to roads and buildings. Despite legislation that all public buildings and transport be
accessible to persons with disabilities, there was limited accessibility.
According to a 2014 survey by the Indian National Council of Applied Economic Research and the University of Maryland, 27 percent of Indian households practice caste-based untouchability, with the highest untouchability practices found in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh.
Manual scavenging--the removal of animal or human waste by Dalits--continued in spite of its legal prohibition. NGO activists claimed elected village councils employed a majority of manual scavengers that belonged to Other Backward Classes and Dalit populations
There were more than 50,000 Indian citizens of African descent, or “Siddis,” mostly descendants of Bantu people from East Africa brought to India as slaves from the eighth to nineteenth centuries. Residing primarily in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, and Gujarat, Siddis were classified as “Scheduled Tribes” in 2003, but remained one of the poorest, most isolated, and economically disadvantaged groups in the country according to NGOs, which observe that Siddis continued to face widespread racial discrimination outside their communities
The law criminalizes homosexual sex. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons faced physical attacks, rape, and blackmail.
According to media reports, on July 11, seven Dalit men were reportedly stripped and publicly beaten by a Hindu mob for skinning dead cows.
on July 26, a video uploaded by an eyewitness purportedly showed cow protection vigilantes beating two Muslim women outside a railway station in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh, as police watched from a distance.
On July 30, members of a right-wing Hindu group were charged with trespassing at the St. Thomas Aided Higher Primary School near Mangaluru and disrupting an Arabic class. The individuals reportedly accused the teacher of spreading extremism and seized textbooks from the children. The school suspended Urdu and Arabic classes after threats of further protests.
On June 2, Karnataka police arrested Karnataka Police Association president Shashidhar Venugopal and Working Police Families Welfare Committee member Basavaraj Koravankar. The men were organizing a law enforcement strike to protest low wages and poor working conditions. The men were charged with sedition as well as various sections of Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and Police Acts. The arrested were yet to be released on bail at the time of reporting
Civil society activists continued to express concern concerning the Gujarat government’s failure to hold accountable those responsible for the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim.
Source - India 2016 Human Rights Report
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Monday, April 3, 2017
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03 April 2017
Know 50 Facts from India 2016 Human Rights Report by US Department