New Delhi: A US State Department report has sharply criticised the Indian government over alleged human rights violations, citing the police case against activist Teesta Setalvad and killing of eight suspected SIMI members in an encounter in Madhya Pradesh.
- The report refers to police case against Teesta Setalvad, SIMI encounter
- Sexual harassment, dowry death are serious societal problems, it says
- It also talks about the 'Vyapam' scam in Madhya Pradesh
The report on 'Human Rights Practices in India for 2016' also referred to restrictions on foreign funding of NGOs, including some whose views the US government believed were not in the "national or public interest", female genital mutilation and dowry-related deaths as human rights problems in the country.
Citing the rejection of permits to 25 NGOs to receive foreign funds, including senior lawyer Indira Jaisingh's 'Lawyers Collective' and US-based Compassion International's two primary partners, the report highlighted how several of organisations these actions said it effected their operations in the country.
It also referred to a legal analysis published by the UN special rapporteur on freedom of assembly and association that claimed India's Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (a law that governs foreign funding) did not conform to international law, principles, and standards.
The report termed the police case against Teesta Setalvad, her husband Javed Anand and others for allegedly misusing donors' fund as an instance of "governmental attitude regarding international and non-governmental investigation of alleged violations of human rights".
The killing of eight members of the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in a police encounter after they escaped from Bhopal central jail also found a mention in the report under a sub-section "arbitrary deprivation of life and other unlawful or politically motivated killings".
The report also included a reference to the 'Vyapam' scam of Madhya Pradesh where irregularities were alleged to have been committed in recruitment in government jobs and admissions to technical educational institutions. The report termed it as an example of "corruption and lack of transparency in government". The CBI was investigating the death of 48 individuals allegedly linked to the scam over a span of five years. These included a journalist, who reported on the fraud, it said.
The most significant human rights problems, as per the report, involved instances of police and security force abuses, including extra judicial killings, torture, rape and corruption, which remained widespread and contributed to "ineffective responses" to crimes, including those against women, children, and members of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes.
Rape, domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, honour killings, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women and girls remained serious societal problems, the report said.