The Freedom House report claiming India’s standing as a free nation has declined to “partly free” is “misleading, incorrect and misplaced”, the federal government mentioned right now in a pointy rebuttal to the evaluation of the US-based suppose tank.
That the rating was defective was evident from the truth that “many states in India are ruled by parties other than the one at the national level, through an election process which is free and fair and which is conducted by an independent election body”, mentioned the federal government in a point-by-point rejoinder.
“This reflects the working of a vibrant democracy, which gives space to those who hold varying views,” the assertion mentioned.
In its annual report, the democracy analysis institute mentioned the world’s largest democracy was descending into authoritarianism and referred to what it referred to as the “mob violence against Muslims” within the Delhi riots, the usage of sedition legal guidelines in opposition to critics and the migrants’ disaster after Prime Minister Narendra Modi introduced what it described as a “ham-fisted” lockdown to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Government of India treats all its citizens with equality as enshrined under the constitution of the country and all laws are applied without discrimination. Due process of law is followed in matters relating to law and order, irrespective of the identity of the alleged instigator,” the centre mentioned.
“With specific reference to the North East Delhi riots in January 2019, the law enforcement machinery acted swiftly in an impartial and fair manner. Proportionate and appropriate actions were taken to control the situation. Necessary legal and preventive actions were taken by the law enforcement machinery on all complaints/calls received, as per law and procedures.”
On the usage of the sedition regulation, the federal government mentioned “public order’ and ‘police’ were state subjects and the responsibility of maintaining law and order and investigating crimes was upto the state governments. “Therefore, measures as deemed match are taken by regulation enforcement authorities to protect public order,” it said.
Responding to criticism of the lockdown, the government said any mass movement of people would have spread the disease rapidly throughout the country. “Taking into consideration these details, the worldwide expertise and want for consistency within the strategy and implementation of varied containment measures throughout the nation, a nationwide lockdown was introduced,” the centre said.
The government also listed various steps it said were taken to prevent distress to people and to alleviate the problems of those worst-hit by the lockdown. India had registered “one of many lowest charges of energetic Covid circumstances and deaths globally”, it said.
In response to criticism of what the Freedom House report called “Intimidation of lecturers and journalists and crackdown on expressions of dissent by media”, the government said the constitution provided for freedom of expression under Article 19.
“Discussion, debate and dissent is a part of Indian democracy. The Government of India attaches highest significance to the protection and safety of all residents of the nation, together with journalists. The Government of India has issued a particular advisory to States and Union Territories on security of journalists requesting them to strictly implement the regulation to make sure security and safety of media individuals.”
On Internet shutdowns, the centre’s statement said such decisions were taken with the “over-arching goal of sustaining regulation and order below strict safeguards.” The government also defended its crackdown on Amnesty International, saying it had illegally poured in large amounts of money to four entities registered in India by misclassifying it as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
India was among 73 nations downgraded for declines in political rights and civil liberties in the report put out on Wednesday. The report, which ranked 210 nations, noted that states designated “Not Free” had reached the highest since 2006.
“The adjustments in India since Modi took cost in 2014 type a part of a broader shift within the worldwide steadiness between democracy and authoritarianism, with authoritarians usually having fun with impunity for his or her abuses and seizing new alternatives to consolidate energy or crush dissent,” the report mentioned.