India

Arbitrary travel restrictions, harassment of activists and targeting of journalists in India

Over the last month, the authorities barred the Amnesty International Chair Aakar Patel and journalist Rana Ayyub from international travel. Journalists have been arrested and ill-treated for undertaking their work by the police and non-state actors. A UN working group found the detention of Jesuit priest and activist Stan Swamy arbitrary, the courts denied bail to student activist Umar Khalid and extended the detention of Kashmiri activist Khurram Parvez. Tribal activists were also arrested In Odisha for protecting their land. Read more

Arbitrary travel restrictions, harassment of activists and targeting of journalists in India

Authorities harass and squeeze funding of NGOs while activists, journalists targeted in India

The authorities have blocked access to foreign funding for NGOs using the restrictive Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and raided the offices of human rights groups for allegedly violating the law. There continues to be a lack of accountability on the use of the Pegasus spyware against activists, while human rights defenders and journalists continue to be targeted, including in Jammu and Kashmir. Activists and protesters also remain in detention on various trumped up charges. Read more

Authorities harass and squeeze funding of NGOs while activists, journalists targeted in India

Increasing use of draconian UAPA and other repressive laws to stifle dissent in India

In recent months, the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and anti-terror laws has continued to be misused against activists, journalists and online critics especially around the communal violence in Tripura and in the detention of human rights defender Khurram Parvez. There have also been attacks against Right to Information (RTI) activists and attacks on the farmers’ protests. Read more

Increasing use of draconian UAPA and other repressive laws to stifle dissent in India

Indian government snooping row sparks outrage as restrictions on civic freedoms persist

Calls for the authorities to release human rights defenders and activists detained under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have escalated following an exposé by online news portal The Wire and 16 other media organisations which revealed the names of people who were either persons of interest or forensically identified as having been targeted by clients of the Israel-based NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware. Farmers have continued protests against the new farm laws despite restriction, arbitrary arrests and excessive force by the authorities. There have also been new reports on restrictions on civic freedoms in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir
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Indian government snooping row sparks outrage as restrictions on civic freedoms persist

Death of Fr Swamy and increasing online restrictions highlights risk facing activists in India

Ongoing calls for the authorities to release human rights defenders and activists detained under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) have escalated following the death in custody of Fr Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and human rights defender. UN experts have raised concerns about the arrest and detention of tribal rights activist Hidme Markam detained in February 2021. Social media companies, in particular Twitter, have been targeted by authorities to stifle dissent. Read more

Death of Fr Swamy and increasing online restrictions highlights risk facing activists in India

Indian authorities continue to stifle dissent and persecute activists despite pandemic surge

As the coronavirus pandemic rages in India, claiming thousands of lives, the authorities have continued to stifle civic freedoms. The authorities are formulating a new policy to regulate civil society that has raised concerns. Activists and critics continue to be persecuted and silenced with the use of restrictive laws. New regulations imposed in February 2021 allow greater governmental control over online content. Twitter and Facebook have been forced to take down or block political content critical of the government. Farmers are continuing their protests against new laws. Read more

Indian authorities continue to stifle dissent and persecute activists despite pandemic surge

Indian authorities target activists, journalists as they suppress support for the farmers’ protests

Since early January 2021, the authorities have continued to suppress and demonise the farmers protest movement using excessive force with over a hundred detained and charged as well as blocking roads and protests spaces. Activists supporting them have been criminalised using draconian laws as well as journalists reporting and commenting on the protests. The government has also attempted to silence criticism online. Read more

Indian authorities target activists, journalists as they suppress support for the  farmers’ protests

Persecution of activists, raids in Kashmir and increasing restrictions on foreign funding in India

In September 2020, the Indian Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Bill 2020 was adopted which would impose further restrictions on civil society. In October 2020, Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy was the latest activist to be arrested under the UAPA while the health of detained poet and social activist Varavara Rao continues to deteriorate. Also, in October, raids were conducted on human rights defenders, non-governmental organisations and newspapers in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. Journalists and human rights lawyers continue to be targeted for exercising their freedom of speech while student activists and protesters remain in jail for their activism. Farmers continue to protest against new farm laws. Read more

Persecution of activists, raids in Kashmir and increasing restrictions on foreign funding in India

Activists, academics and journalists in India face judicial harassment despite pandemic

The Narendra Modi government has continued its persecution of human rights defenders, activists, student leaders and journalists. Political activists and student leaders continue to be the government’s prime targets, with some detained under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and for sedition. A raging pandemic and national lockdown has not stopped the National Investigation Agency (NIA) from making more arrests in the controversial Bhima Koregaon case of 2018. Human rights groups have continued to remain concerned about violations in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir.
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Activists, academics and journalists in India face judicial harassment despite pandemic

In India the situation of activists and journalists remains precarious under the COVID-19 lockdown

Human rights defenders across India continue to be arrested and detained - some under draconian laws - despite the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, for raising questions or criticising the authorities. Journalists have also been targeted, including in Indian administered Kashmir. The authorities have also used the opportunity to destroy the Shaheen Bagh protest site in Delhi and to criminalise those protesting the discriminatory Citizen Amendment Act (CAA). Read more

In India the situation of activists and journalists remains precarious under the COVID-19 lockdown