India has even stopped pretending that it cares about human rights. It has now emerged that the country ignored a report by four UN special rapporteurs asking New Delhi to investigate allegations of torture and custodial killings of Muslims in Occupied Kashmir that have occurred since January 2019. The report for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was authored by the agency’s special rapporteurs for torture, extrajudicial killings, minority issues, and freedom of religion. It was sent to the Indian government in May and draws attention to “the continued deterioration of human rights conditions” in the occupied region. It also documents several cases of “arbitrary detentions, violations to the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment and rights of persons belonging to minorities”.
The authors also “remain deeply concerned about the ongoing human rights violations” and call on India “to conduct an impartial investigation into all the allegations of arbitrary killings, torture and ill-treatment and to prosecute suspected perpetrators”. They note that allegations of “excessive use of force, torture and other forms of ill-treatment reportedly committed during the arrest and detention and death in custody” of people “targeted based on their ethnicity and/or religious identities.” The report also suggests that India simply refuses to conduct autopsies for people killed in police custody.
Unfortunately, New Delhi’s refusal to even reply to the report within the stipulated 60-day period is not a surprise. India previously sent “no response” to related communications sent last August and in February this year. India did not even reply to the simplest of questions — whether the investigations found that these people had even been found to have committed a crime. As for the other main questions — what steps India has taken to address the allegations and information about laws to protect religious minorities, the UN officials should have known better. The Prime Minister of India is Narendra Modi. His entire career is built on promoting bigotry. He rose to national prominence by arranging a pogrom.
His ‘56-inch chest’ swells every time a Muslim is lynched. Instead of asking, the UN should be telling — India has become a fascist apartheid state. Period.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2020.