News / Asia

Human Rights Watch Urges India to Prevent Abuses

Anjana Pasricha

The New York-based rights group, Human Rights Watch, has urged India to prevent human rights abuses which it says occur during counterterrorism efforts. The report warns that such abuses could be counterproductive in the fight against terror.

Wednesday's report by Human Rights Watch focuses on the aftermath of a spate of bombings in 2008 which killed more than 150 people in the cities of New Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad.

HRW South Asia Director Meenakshi Ganguly says the pressure on police to identify the perpetrators of these terror strikes led to arbitrary arrest and human rights abuses at every stage of custody.

"We found, in this case, people were rounded up in large numbers,” Ganguly said. “They were brought to police stations. Often they were tortured or held without being brought before a magistrate and some of them have said they were coerced to confess, and eventually many have retracted their confession.”

The report says the majority of the victims were scores of Muslim men.  A militant Islamic group called the Indian Mujahideen had claimed responsibility for the 2008 attacks. But the report says suspected Hindu extremists, blamed for another bomb attack, have also suffered abuse.

Ganguly warns that such abuses could undermine efforts the fight against terror by punishing innocent people, while the guilty remain free, and by undermining public faith in police investigation.

"Quite often, when the police use torture, the information they gather is false information,” she added. “So the wrong people are identified as being perpetrators of these attacks…..people in India are no longer being able to trust the investigations because quite often torture is the only method used to coerce confessions."

The report has called on Indian authorities to investigate the case of nine Muslims being held for a bomb blast in 2006 in Malegoan in Maharashtra state. Further investigations have pointed the finger at Hindu extremists.

Indian authorities, in keeping with past practice, did not comment on the report.

Ganguly says there is support among Indian authorities for preventing rights abuses, but institutional changes are not happening.

"At the highest levels when we meet with the Indian government, there is commitment to zero tolerance for human rights violations,” said Ganguly. “However, on the ground that is not translated into anything that is significant."

Security analysts say India still relies on old methods of policing designed by colonial rulers in which abuse was an institutional practice. Demands for police reforms have been made repeatedly, but successive governments have done little to initiate those reforms.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid