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India Has Rights Issues, But Situation Is Improving At J&K, US State Department Says | India News


WASHINGTON: India has several major human rights problems, including illegal and arbitrary killings, restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, corruption and tolerance for religious freedom violations, a US report said Tuesday.
In its ‘2020 National Reports on Human Rights Practices’ to the US Congress, the State Department noted the improvement in the human rights situation at J&K.
“The government continued to take steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir by gradually lifting some security and communications restrictions,” the State Department said in its India section of the report. The government released most of the political activists from detention, he added.
In January, the government partially restored Internet access; however, high-speed 4G mobile internet connection remained restricted in most of Jammu and Kashmir. The government began a process to redesign electoral districts, but did not announce a timetable for elections to the local assembly. Elections for the local district development council were held in December, in which a coalition of Kashmiri opposition parties won a majority of the seats, according to the report.
Separatist insurgents and terrorists in the J&K Union territory, the northeast and areas affected by the Maoists committed serious abuses, including murder and torture of armed forces personnel, police, government officials and civilians, and the recruitment and use of of child soldiers, he said. .
The state department in its report listed more than a dozen major human rights issues for India. These include illegal and arbitrary executions, including extrajudicial executions perpetrated by the police; torture and cases of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment by some police and prison officials; arbitrary arrest and detention by government authorities; harsh and life-threatening prison conditions; politicians and prisoners or detainees in certain states.
India has in the past rejected similar reports.
The US report mentioned restrictions on freedom of speech and the press, including violence, threats of violence or unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists, the use of criminal defamation laws to prosecute speech on social media, censorship and site blocking.
“There were also reports of extremists perpetrating acts of murder, violence and intimidation against journalists critical of the government,” the report says.

Times of India