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UN Human Rights Experts Called on India for Immediate Release of Students & Activists

It appears they have not similarly investigated allegations of incitement to hatred and violence made by CAA supporters, some of whom are reported to have chanted ‘shoot the traitors’ at counter-rallies”.

In a breaking news coming from United Nations, a number of UN Human Rights experts have called on India to immediately release the activists, arrested for participating the Anti CAA protests.

On Friday, 26th June, the experts released a statement on the official website of ‘united nations human rights’ saying, “These defenders, many of them students, appear to have been arrested simply because they exercised their right to denounce and protest against the CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act), and their arrest seems clearly designed to send a chilling message to India’s vibrant civil society that criticism of government policies will not be tolerated,”.

Throwing light on the said law that the activists were protesting against, the statement read, “The CAA provides expedited and simplified access to citizenship for people from specific religious minorities from several neighbouring countries but it excludes Muslims. Its adoption in December 2019 provoked nationwide protests by Indians from diverse faiths – including Hindus – who believe it violates the secular foundations of India’s constitution.”

The statement also mentioned the names of 11 activists who have been arrested, like Meeran Haider, Gulfisha Fatima, Safoora Zargar, Asif Iqbal Tanha, Devangana Kalita, Natasha Narwal, Khalid Saifi, Shifa Ur Rehman, Dr. Kafeel Khan, Sharjeel Imam and Akhil Gogoi.

Calling out for their immediate release, the experts said, “Authorities should immediately release all human rights defenders who are currently being held in pre-trial detention without sufficient evidence, often simply on the basis of speeches they made criticising the discriminatory nature of the CAA”.

“The experts also highlighted their concern that the authorities’ response to the protests seemed discriminatory. It appears they have not similarly investigated allegations of incitement to hatred and violence made by CAA supporters, some of whom are reported to have chanted ‘shoot the traitors’ at counter-rallies”.

They also highlighted the urgency of their release with the spread of corona virus in Indian prisons. “Although demonstrations ended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and India’s Supreme Court issued a recent order to decongest jails because of health concerns related to the pandemic, protest leaders continue to be detained”.

Concluding the statement, they said that they are in contact with the government on this matter.

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