Significant human rights abuses in India, says U.S. report

The U.S. State Department’s 2023 Human Rights Report flags “extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests, and violence or threats of violence against individuals in other countries”

April 23, 2024 11:08 pm | Updated April 24, 2024 06:46 am IST - NEW DELHI

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the start of a briefing on the 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices at the State Department in Washington on April 22, 2024.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks at the start of a briefing on the 2023 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices at the State Department in Washington on April 22, 2024. | Photo Credit: AP

The U.S. State Department, in its 2023 Human Rights Report (HRR), a country-wise compilation of human rights practices, has flagged “credible reports” of more than a dozen different kinds of human rights abuses in India, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest or detention, torture to coerce confessions, repeated imposition of Internet shutdowns and blocked telecommunications, surveillance of civil society activists and journalists, intimidation and Internet trolling of human rights defenders, punishment of family members for alleged offences by a relative, and “crimes involving violence or threats of violence targeting members of ethnic and caste minorities”, among others.

The report, released by U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, highlighted that “the outbreak of ethnic conflict between the Kuki and Meitei ethnic groups” resulted in “significant human rights abuses”. It also noted that “the government took minimal credible steps or action to identify and punish officials who may have committed human rights abuses”.

Also read | U.S., India regularly consult at highest levels on democracy, human rights issues: State Department official

Stating that “there were several reports that the government or its agents committed arbitrary or unlawful killings, including extrajudicial killings, during the year, the report pointed out that “the country registered 813 cases of extrajudicial killings between 2016-2022, with the most reported in Chhattisgarh, followed by Uttar Pradesh.”

In a section titled ‘Transnational repression’, the HRR referred to reports of the Indian government engaging in repression of “journalists, members of diaspora, civil society activists, and human rights defenders”. The report, observing that “other governments and diaspora communities” have alleged that the Indian government has “killed persons or used violence or threats of violence against individuals in other countries, for reprisal”, cited the statements of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that his government was probing allegations of a link between Indian government agents and the killing of a Sikh Canadian citizen, Harjeet Singh Nijjar.

In the section titled ‘Governmental Posture Towards International and Non-governmental Monitoring and Investigation of Alleged Human Rights Abuses’, the report highlighted the government’s cancellation of “registration certificates of 1,827 non-profit associations” under FCRA [Foreign Contribution Regulation Act] provisions between 2017 and 2022, noting that “there were numerous reports of threats and violence against human rights defenders, particularly those representing women, religious minorities, and marginalised communities.”

Documenting “credible reports of militant groups killing Muslims and Dalits for transporting or slaughtering cattle,” the report noted that “the Supreme Court issued guidelines in 2018 to reduce these acts of vigilantism”. Documenting violations of religious freedom, the report stated, “Thirteen State governments had laws prohibiting forced conversions and forced religious conversion for the purpose of marriage. In practice, these were often used to limit conversion to non-Hindu religions and peaceful religious activities of members of religious minority communities.”

As regards non-state actors, the report noted that “terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, northeastern States, and Maoist terrorism-affected areas committed serious abuses, including killings and abductions of armed forces personnel, police, government officials, and civilians.”

The report, which covers all countries receiving U.S. assistance and all UN member states, assesses human rights practices as per the norms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.