Congress has released a new report on India, citing multiple instances of human rights violations.
The report, published by the Congressional Research Service, highlighted more than eight areas of “democratic backsliding” under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s governance and sought Congress’ assessment of proposed financial aid to the country in the coming fiscal year.
The short, three-page report shed light on some “selected areas of human rights concerns,” such as hampering religious and press freedoms, and free expression, among others.
Some of the keywords included in the text of the report contained phrases like “attacks on religious minority communities,” “cow vigilantism,” “Indian government’s promotion of Hindu nationalism,” “unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists,” “online trolling,” “censorship of online content” and “digital authoritarianism.”
The claims in this report were sourced from earlier reports, namely the State Department’s 2021 Report on International Religious Freedom and 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
The new report also specified several instances of corruption, intimidation in civil society and brought to the fore area-specific problems such as human trafficking, bonded labor, unrest in Kashmir, violence against women, extrajudicial killings and police brutality.
It pointed out harassment of nongovernmental agency workers, a “lack of accountability for official misconduct,” inadequate administrative efforts, detentions and discriminatory restrictions on Muslim-majority areas, “lack of investigation for gender-based violence,” “dismissive police responses,” “politically motivated imprisonments” and “refoulement of refugees.”
This report comes from a nonpartisan institute within the Library of the Congress, whose primary aim is to feed legislative debates with data and context. The report has compiled numerous probes, investigations, comments and bilateral statements to weigh India’s alleged current situation in front of Congress.
Ahead of fiscal year 2023, this report will help Congress in deciding whether it would sanction the Biden’s administration’s proposed $117 million in financial assistance to the country for improvements in human rights and civil liberties. It further mentions three pending resolutions pertaining to India: one in the Senate and two in the House of Representatives. According to the Business Standard of India, India requested no such aid.
Within the last three months, India has experienced 59 internet shutdowns. Before the release of the report, the controversial detention of fact-checker Mohammed Zubair and the recent release of 11 rapists of Bilkis Bano, a woman whose family was killed in 2002 communal riots in the state of Gujarat, made global media headlines.