India came under fire yet again from the UN Human Rights Council and human rights bodies over its ill-treatment and threat to deport 40,000 Rohingyas, cow vigilantism and the recent murder of journalist Gauri Lankesh. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein criticised New Delhi’s current measures to deport Rohingyas “at a time of such violence against them”.
“India cannot carry out collective expulsions, or return people to a place where they risk torture or other serious violations, by virtue of customary law”, Zeid said this while kicking off the 36th session of the Council in Geneva on Monday 11 September 2017. Zeid criticised the statement of Indian minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju that India can dispense with international law , together with basic human compassion, on the matter because it is not a signatory to the Refugee Convention.
Expressing concern over Rohingya community’s plight Zeid said “The situation seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, noting that the current situation cannot yet be fully assessed since Myanmar has refused access to human rights investigators.
It may be recalled here that the UN body had slammed India for rising communalism, caste violence and attacks on Africans besides criminalization of same sex relationships.
The human rights chief also expressed dismay over a broader rise of intolerance towards religious and other minorities in India. He condemned the current wave of violent mob attacks in the name of cow protection, calling it “alarming”. He also drew attention to the recent killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh.
The United Nations human rights chief also criticized India for not allowing a fact-finding mission to visit Indian occupied territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Refering to the stepped up human rights violations in territories under foreign occupation Association for the Protection of Women and Children’s Rights (APWCR), which was founded and registered in 1999 as a human rights development organization said there was a need to focus on the situation in territories under foreign occupation. Putting Kashmir in the category of occupied territories the APWCR asserted that human rights violations had increased there because the HRC mission was not allowed in.
Renowned human rights organization, the Commission Africaine des Promoteurs de la Sante et des Droits de l’Homme said that terrorism and systematic human rights violations in Kashmir required more attention by the High Commissioner and that unprovoked heavy shelling had resulted in daily deaths of civilians.
Another group called Liberation formerly known as The Movement for Colonial Freedom pointed out that India was experiencing increasing religious intolerance under the pretext of the protection of the “holy cow”. Indigenous People of Africa Coordinating Committee claimed that homes of non-Hindu minorities had been systematically destroyed and their products were regularly boycotted. Centre for Organisation Research and Education said that members of scheduled tribes and castes were victims of rape and honour killings.
India, for all the obvious reasons, has rightly been slammed by the human rights groups as the soul-shattering and horrifying incidents of violence including mob lynching, persecutions of minorities, burning religious places, mosques and churches amply demonstrate the fact that India has become one of most dangerous countries for minorities. India is perhaps the only country amongst the comity of nations where people are getting killed for eating beef. At least a dozen of people have been killed by so-called cow vigilantes for allegedly eating beef and transporting cows. Lynching people for eating beef, holding cows sacred and superior than human, religious fanaticism, intolerance is a kind of mindset that has largely dominated the social sphere of the Indian society and ruling party the BJP believes that India belongs to the Hindus alone.
Needless to talk about war-crimes committed against Kashmiris by occupation forces India’s track record on human rights, in general has always been poor but the rising tide of intolerance has made the country even more dangerous and unsafe for minorities.