UN High Commissioner slams Modi govt for cracking down on free speech, misusing UAPA

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday slammed Indian authorities in connection with its crackdown on activists, journalists for exercising their right to the freedom of expression.

”Ongoing use of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act throughout India is worrying, with Jammu & Kashmir having among the highest number of cases in the country,” she said while addressing 48th session of the Human Rights Council.

She added that restrictions on public assembly, and frequent temporary communication blackouts, continue in Jammu and Kashmir, while hundreds of people remain in detention for exercising their right to the freedom of expression, and journalists face ever-growing pressure.

”While I acknowledge the Government’s efforts to counter terrorism and promote development in the region, such restrictive measures can result in human rights violations and foster further tensions and discontent,” she said.

India has dismissed the UN High Commissioner’s remarks. Reenat Sandhu, Secretary (West) Ministry of External Affairs, said, ”Any shortcomings in upholding human rights must be addressed in a transparent and impartial manner, anchored in respect for national sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs of States.”

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