The United Nations human rights chief has been reprimanded India for its divisive policies, narrow political agendas and deepening harassment of the minorities, particularly, Muslims.
UNHCHR Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, in her annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, said they are receiving reports that indicate increasing harassment and targeting of minorities, in particular, the Muslims and people from historically disadvantaged and marginalized groups, such as Dalits and Adivasis.
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However, India’s ruling party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has dismissed the report, once again terming it as ‘baseless’. BJP leader, Shahnawaz Hussain rejected the report saying “these are baseless allegations to tarnish the image of India.” He said India is the best country for Muslims in the world and Hindus are their best friends.
Bachelet said the divisive policies could undermine India’s economic growth and narrow political agendas were marginalizing vulnerable people in an ‘already unequal society’. Amnesty International has also recorded a number of hate crimes, which it has described as ‘disturbing’. The organization’s India Chapter said this included rape, murder and assault against marginalized groups. The Minority Rights Group International noted that communal violence has often been instrumentalised in India for political gains. It said communal violence draws on and exacerbates a climate of entrenched discrimination against the religious minorities with far-reaching social, economic, cultural and political dimensions. “Such violence is frequently met with impunity and in certain instances direct complicity from state actors, ranging from inciting violence through hate speech to refusing to properly investigating communal incidents after they have occurred” said the rights group.
In its World Report 2019, the Human Rights Watch highlighted that mob violence by extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the ruling party against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued through 2018 amid rumors that they traded or killed cows for beef. It also brought to fore the National Register of Citizens in Assam that excludes millions of Muslims, raising concerns over arbitrary detention and possible statelessness.