Yet another international organisation has come up with a report alleging that the Narendra Modi government in India is discriminating against minorities, stifling dissent and suppressing free speech. In its recently released Word Report 2023, Human Rights Watch, self-proclaimed defenders of human rights, made these comments while asking the Western Powers to not shift supply chains from China to India.
The report has been authored by activist Tirana Hassan, the Executive Director at Human Rights Watch. She was earlier associated with Amnesty International and several other organisations.
The anti-India comments were made by Human Rights Watch in a section on China titled ‘A Brighter Spotlight on Beijing’, where it talked in detail about the authoritative regime of Xi Jinping, including the atrocities on Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang region. The report notes the increasing global focus on the dismal human rights situation in China, including discussions on the matter in the United Nations.
However, the report then says that due to increasing discomfort around the Chinese government’s repressive ambitions, several governments have started to expand trade relations with India, and Human Rights Watch warns the governments against it.
HRW says that several governments, including those of Australia, Japan, Canada, the UK, EU, and US have looked to cultivate trade and security alliances with India, “taking cover behind its brand as the “world’s largest democracy.””
It has advised these governments against it, claiming that the Narendra Modi-led BJP government has “mimicked many of the same abuses that have enabled Chinese state repression—systematic discrimination against religious minorities, stifling of peaceful dissent, and use of technology to suppress free expression—to tighten its grip on power.”
The report alleges that world leaders are making careless trade-offs on human rights, accusing them of justifying it at the cost of doing business. HRW further alleges that world leaders are ignoring “the longer-term implications of their compromises”. It further claims that “Deepening ties with the Modi government while avoiding its troubling rights record squanders valuable leverage to protect the precious, but increasingly endangered, civic space on which India’s democracy relies.”
Elsewhere in the report, HRW criticised the Biden administration for allegedly tempering “criticism of abuses and increasing authoritarianism in India, Thailand, the Philippines, and elsewhere in the region for security and economic reasons, instead of recognizing that all are linked.”
In the report on India, HRW has written what has become familiar rants by such left-liberal organisations against the Modi government, that the BJP government is continuing with “its systematic discrimination and stigmatization of religious and other minorities, particularly Muslims.” It alleges attack on freedom of speech because the govt has taken action against NGOs violating various norms including foreign funding norms, and for actions of people accused of links with terror groups.
The allegations by HRW against India are familiar ones, and all of them are baseless. Ever since Modi government came to power in 2014, Islamists and left-liberals have been spreading the propaganda that Muslims are being oppressed. Even reform measures, like ban on triple talaq, are cited as attack on Muslims. Citing a couple of random criminal incidents where the victims were Muslims, the Islamist-left-liberal ecosystem has been able to create the propaganda that Muslims are oppressed in India groups like Human Rights Watch are furthering their propaganda.
In fact, the ecosystem has been caught using lies to attack the Modi govt, like the so called “use of technology to suppress free expression” mentioned in the HRW report. Although not mentioned, it is clear that they are referring to allegations that BJP used a app named Tek Fog to manipulate social media, and that BJP had special access to social media platforms giving them unlimited powers to manipulate content.
Both these allegations were made by leftist propaganda outlet The Wire, but they have been proven false and the outlet has taken down their Tek Fog and Meta stories. But this fact does not prevent Human Rights Watch to allege that Modi government is using technology to supress free speech.
Similarly, HRW also mentions Pegasus, ignoring the fact that a probe found no evidence of its use against Indian citizens by the government.
Indian media and social media is filled with Islamists and left-liberals that continue to attack the Modi government daily, often with fake allegations, but HRW alleges there is oppression on free speech.
HRW mentions that several Kashmiri Hindus and other minorities like Sikhs have been killed in terror attacks in Kashmir in recent times, but fails to mention who killed them, and the religious ideology behind these attacks. Instead, the group criticises the government for action against some ‘journalists’ for their links with terrorists.
The report claims that the journalists, including Sajad Gul and Fahad Shah, were arrested for reporting about public protests and ‘contradictory claims’ of security forces. This is a complete lie, Sajad Gul is an associate of journalist turned terrorist Mukhtar Baba, and was involved in attacks on other journalists in the region. On the other hand, Fahad Shah was spreading anti-India propaganda on social media, instigating terror attacks. No journalist was arrested for some reports as the HRW report claims.
Like all such reports by such groups, HRW also does not fail to mention that Md Zubair of Alt News was arrested, citing it as an example of crackdown on dissent and free speech. But they fail to mention that it is Zubair who cause several deaths and widespread riots in India because he didn’t think former BJP leader Nupur Sharma had the right of free speech to talk about Prophet Mohammed, even if it is a fact mentioned in Islamic texts.
The report does mention the incident, but only to slam police action on Islamist rioters against Nupur Sharma. It does not mention how Islamists killed multiple people for supporting Nupur Sharma online, but criticised the police instead for controlling the riots demanding beheading of Nupur Sharma.
HRW also resorts to lies to target in India. A photo caption in the main report says ‘Hijab-wearing students arrive to attend classes as a policewoman stands guard outside a government school after the recent hijab ban, in Udupi town in the southern state of Karnataka, India.’ This text gives the impression that there was a ban on hijab in Karnataka, which is completely false. The hijab was only banned in schools where there are uniform norms, and there was never a ban on hijab outside schools.
While the India report mentions the fact, it still criticises the move, ignoring the fact the hijab is nothing but an attack on human rights of Muslim women.
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