India has Rights issues, situation improving in J&K: US

YB WEB DESK. Dated: 4/1/2021 11:14:54 AM

Washington, Mar 31 India has several significant human rights issues, including restrictions on freedom of expression and the press, corruption and tolerance of violations of religious freedom, a report of the US state department said on Tuesday. The report notes that the government has taken steps to improve the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir and restore normalcy in the former state, which was split into two union territories after its special status was scrapped in 2019. In its ‘2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices’ to the US Congress, the Department of State noted what it called an improvement in the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “The government continued taking steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir by gradually lifting some security and communications restrictions,” said the State Department in its India section of the report. The government released most political activists from detention, it added. In January, the government partially restored internet access; however, high-speed 4G mobile internet remained restricted in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir. The government began a process to redraw electoral constituencies but did not announce a timeline for local assembly elections. Local district development council elections took place in December in which a coalition of Kashmiri opposition parties won the majority of seats, the report said. Separatist insurgents and terrorists in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Northeast, and Maoist-affected areas committed serious abuses, including killings and torture of armed forces personnel, police, government officials, and civilians, and recruitment and use of child soldiers, it said. The US State Department in its report listed more than a dozen significant human rights issues for India. Prominent among them are unlawful and arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings perpetrated by police; torture and cases of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment by some police and prison officials; arbitrary arrest and detention by government authorities; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; political and prisoners or detainees in certain states. India has in the past rejected similar reports alleging human rights violation. The US report mentioned restrictions on freedom of expression and the press, including violence, threats of violence, or unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists.


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