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USA calls out India for respecting Human Rights’ Activists role

| Updated: September 13, 2021 17:52

The Office of International Religious Freedom, US State Department condemned India on the death of Stan Swamy in custody and called out India to understand the importance of the human rights activists in a democracy.

Stan Swamy died due to COVID-19 while waiting to receive bail on July 5, 2021, in a hospital, in Mumbai. He was a Jesuit Priest and Tribal’s rights activist arrested by the NIA (National Investigation Agency) in the Bhima Koregaon Case in 2020 under the charges of UAPA. His bail plea was scheduled for hearing at 11 am in the Bombay High Court the day after his death.

The Office of International Religious Freedom tweeted on Thursday, “We are saddened, by the death of Father Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest & tribal rights activist, who died in Indian custody under the charges of Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. We call on all governments to respect the vital role of human rights activists in healthy democracies.” Swamy, 84, was also a patient of Parkinson’s disease and was not supplied with the essentials for long periods.

The Office of International Religious Freedom propagates the need for religious freedom, around the world. It monitors harassment, discrimination and abuse motivated due to religion.

This is not the first time India’s Democratic nature is in question in recent times. India’s status on Freedom House’s report on political rights and civil liberties was lowered to “partly free” in the United States government-funded non-governmental organisation’s annual Freedom in the World rankings in 2021.

Political rights and civil liberties have worsened since Modi became PM in 2014, and the decline has only accelerated since his re-election in 2019, said the report.

Currently, the largest democracy in the world – India – fell to 53rd position in EUI’s Democratic index, 2021.

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