The United States is monitoring some “worrying developments” regarding human rights abuses in India by some government, police and prison officials, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
Blinken made the remarks during a joint press conference with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and their Indian counterparts – External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh – after the conclusion of Ministerial Meeting 2 +2 Monday.
“We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared (human rights) values and to that end we are monitoring some recent developments regarding India, including an increase in human rights abuses by some officials government, police and prisons,” Blinken said. Monday at a joint press briefing with US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
Blinken did not elaborate. Singh and Jaishankar, who spoke after Blinken at the briefing, did not comment on the human rights issue.
Blinken’s remarks came days after US Representative Ilhan Omar questioned the US government’s alleged reluctance to criticize Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government on human rights.
The US State Department‘s latest human rights report on India, the world’s largest democracy, released in March last year, cited a number of human rights abuses .
The report highlighted “unlawful and arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings carried out by the police” and “restrictions on freedom of speech and of the press”, including the use of criminal defamation laws to control social media.
Earlier this month, an 84-year-old priest and tribal rights activist charged with terrorism offenses died after nine months in custody.
This sparked international outrage, including from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.
A recent religion-based citizenship law is widely seen as discriminatory against Muslims.
The government denies cracking down on dissent and says people of all religions have the same rights.
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Posted: Tuesday, April 12, 2022, 10:56 a.m. IST