NEW DELHI: India has rebuffed the claims made by a Chinese NGO at the United Nations alleging that the country has a long record of prosecution of human rights defenders.
The submission made by Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) attacked Indian judiciary during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May alleging that “like judiciary, prosecutors are deeply corrupt and demand bribes for opposing or not opposing bail applications, to undertake trial and to present evidence in the court.” It also alleged widespread use of torture by the Indian authorities. Indian authorities are preparing to send a detailed response.
Some other NGOs raised the issues related to securities of religious minorities, Ghar Wapsi, Armed Forces Special Powers Act, enforced disappearance, extra-judicial killings and arbitrary arrests and torture.
The UPR is a process to review human rights records of member-states. Some foreign-funded NGOs such as Amnesty International gave a different shade to India’s undertrials alleging that two-thirds of the country’s prison population awaiting trials are Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims.
World Evangelical Alliance made allegations against persecution of minorities, claiming worsening situation of freedom of religion. An Indian NGO noted the grave insecurities of religious minorities from anti-conversion laws and harsher beef ban law enacted after 2014. Some others alleged targeted violence against Muslims in Uttar Pradesh.
An umbrella of 12 NGOs has targeted Indian security forces at the United Nations. It alleged about rape and sexual assault complaints against security forces from conflict areas such as Jammu & Kashmir, the north-eastern states and central Indian states.
“These are baseless allegations and have no substance whatsoever. The NGOs are trying to undermine the development agenda that is being appreciated across the globe and on various international platform. It is very evident from the allegations that such comments were made with ulterior motives,” a top government official from security establishment said.
India is preparing to send a detailed response. On June 7, when government officials from various ministries met on the suggestion of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), the discussion was centred on the national development agenda and recommendations made by the various countries on India’s UPR. The recommendations made by the countries are not binding on India, and different ministry officials were called to deliberate whether to accept these recommendations or not. For example, China, during the review of India’s UPR in May, recommended that India should promote sustainable economic and social development, and raise the living standard of its people so as to lay down a firm basis for the enjoyment of human rights by its people.
The government officials confirmed that Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is examining the recommendations made by China and an appropriate response will be prepared. Bolivia’s recommendation was to strengthen the policies in favour of the rights of peasants and other persons working in rural areas. Germany asked India to implement a human rights-based, holistic approach to ensure access to adequate housing as well as water and sanitation for marginalised groups, including Dalits, scheduled tribe, homeless, landless, religious and ethnic minorities.
The Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation would draft a suitable response highlighting India’s achievement on this particular issue. Myanmar wants India to further strengthen efforts towards socio-economic development and poverty eradication.
According to the government sources, the MEA had convened the first inter-ministerial meeting on June 1 to carry out the consultations with the concerned ministries.