Washington: Abuses by police and security forces are the most significant human rights problem in India, the US said while raising concerns by civil society over the ‘failure’ of the Gujarat government to hold accountable those responsible for the 2002 riots in the state. “The most significant human rights problems involved police and security force abuses, including extra-judicial killings, torture, and rape; corruption remained widespread and contributed to ineffective responses to crimes, including those against women, children and members of scheduled castes or tribes; and societal violence based on gender, religious affiliation, and caste or tribe,” the US State Department said in its annual 2015 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. The report was released by Secretary of State John Kerry at the headquarters of the State Department here.
“The frequently grim examples detailed in this report strengthen our resolve to promote fundamental freedoms, to support human rights defenders and to document and promote accountability for violations of human rights,” Kerry wrote in the preface of the report. In its detailed Congressional-mandated report on India, the State Department continues to raise its concerns about the victims of Gujarat riots not receiving justice so far. “Civil society activists continued to express concern about the Gujarat government’s failure to hold accountable those responsible for the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,200 persons, the majority of whom were Muslim,” the report said.
“On September 16, the Gujarat High Court’s acting Chief Justice assembled a new bench to hear the appeals from Maya Kodnani, Babu Bajrangi, along with others who authorities had sentenced to imprisonment for their role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.This was the fifth bench to hear these petitions,” the State Department said. In its report, the State Department alleged that “lack of accountability” for misconduct at all levels of government persisted, contributing to widespread impunity. Investigations and prosecutions of individual cases took place but lax enforcement, a shortage of trained police officers and an overburdened and under resourced court system contributed to infrequent convictions, it said. PTI
US First Lady praises India’s steps to educate, empower girls
Washington: US First Lady Michelle Obama has praised the recent steps taken by India to educate and empower girl students through various programmes that break down the cultural barriers that keep them out of school. “I am thrilled that countries like Ghana and India and Rwanda are already doing such important work as part of this effort from scholarships and mentorship opportunities, to innovative programmes to break down the cultural barriers that keep girls out of school,” Michelle said. “We need you to work with the Bank to develop programmes that will meet the needs of girls in your countries. And if your country has already reached gender parity in education, then we need you to step up and support countries where disparities still exist,” she said. PTI