Human Rights Watch, a prominent international watchdog body, has pressurised India to rescind its Citizenship Amendment Act and to discard a planned national citizenship registry.
The 82-page report, Shoot the Traitors’: Discrimination Against Muslims Under India’s New Citizenship Policy, HRW said the act, together with a planned nationwide verification process to identify “illegal migrants,” can threaten the citizenship rights of millions of Indian Muslims.
The report also said the new Indian measures have also spurred violence against Muslims.
It says the police and other officials have repeatedly failed to intervene when government supporters attacked those protesting the new citizenship policies. The police, however, have been quick to arrest critics of the policy and disperse their peaceful demonstrations, including by using excessive and lethal force.
“India’s prime minister (Narendra Modi) has appealed for a united fight against COVID-19, but has yet to call for unity in the fight against anti-Muslim violence and discrimination,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said in a statement on Thursday.
“Government policies have opened the door for mob violence and police inaction that have instilled fear among Muslims and other minority communities throughout the country,” she said.
HRW, which is based in New York, said the report is based on more than 100 interviews with victims of abuse and their families from Delhi and the states of Assam and Uttar Pradesh, as well as with legal experts, academics, activists, and police officials.
It must be noted that in occupied Kashmir, the chemist shops and pharmacies are facing acute shortage of life-saving medicines due to continued lockdown, which was imposed by India in August, 2019, and is intensified last month in the name of preventing the spread of coronavirus in the territory.