Modi’s denial of minority discrimination sparks criticism in India

New Delhi, June 23 (EFE).- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s denial of discrimination against minorities by his government drew criticism from rights groups and his critics on Friday, sparking concerns about human rights and freedom of expression in the country.

The criticism was sparked by Modi’s response to a question from the media during his first press conference since coming to power in 2014.

Standing alongside United States President Joe Biden, Modi dismissed allegations of discrimination in his country.

“That Modi responded claiming there is “absolutely no discrimination” in India and that he was ‘really surprised’ by the question underscores why meaningful human rights discussions should be central to bilateral leader visits,” tweeted Elaine Pearson, the Asia director at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The first question posed to Modi in nearly a decade, during his official visit to the US, specifically addressed the criticism his government has drawn regarding human rights and freedom of expression. He was asked what steps he was willing to take to improve the situation.

Modi found the question “surprising,” defending India’s democratic values and claiming that “there is absolutely no discrimination based on caste, creed, age, or any kind of geographical location” in India.

Manickam Tagore, a parliamentarian from the opposition Indian National Congress (INC) party, criticized Modi’s denial, which contradicts multiple reports from international organizations and even the US Department of State regarding the deterioration of human rights in India.

“Democracy is dying (in India). Opposition parties are not allowed to speak in parliament, the media is under pressure, any journalist who asks questions against the BJP (Modi’s party) is expelled, and media groups are bought by friendly companies,” Tagore told the Mirror Now TV.

During Modi’s visit, international organizations like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International screened a controversial BBC documentary on Tuesday about Modi’s role during the 2002 riots in the western state of Gujarat where he headed the regional government then.

The violence instigated by religious fundamentalists lasted several days and resulted in an estimated 2,000 deaths, with the majority of the dead being Muslims.

At that time, Modi was the Chief Minister of the region, and some accuse him of preventing the police from intervening to stop the attacks by Hindu extremists, as referred to in the BBC documentary.

Due to its critical content, the Indian government censored the documentary in India and arrested several university students who organized joint screenings of the film.

The British channel faced a series of investigations.

Former US President Barack Obama also addressed the issue during an interview with CNN, emphasizing that Biden should raise this problem with Modi and warning that India could start to disintegrate if the government does not defend the rights of minorities.

In fact, the US rejected Modi’s entry in March 2005 because he was held responsible for the events of 2002.

During Modi’s tenure, which now spans two consecutive terms, both the prime minister and his party, the BJP, have been accused of fuelling the sentiments of Hindu extremists against minorities, especially Muslims and Christians.

Civil organizations have also reported an increase in restrictions and the severity of measures imposed by the authorities in areas predominantly inhabited by Muslims, as well as persecution of the press and the detention of activists. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button