US think tank report misleading, incorrect, misplaced: Govt

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 05, 2021

India treats all its citizens with equality as enshrined under the Constitution of the country and all laws are applied without discrimination, the government said   -  AP

In a study, Freedom House had downgraded India’s status as a free country to “partly free”

The government on Friday strongly rebutted an international report that downgraded India’s status as a free country to “partly free”.

Terming the findings of the recently released report, Democracy Under Siege, by the US-based think tank Freedom House as “misleading, incorrect and misplaced”, the government added that the fact that many States in India, under its federal structure, are ruled by elected “parties other than that at the national level”, reflects the workings of a “vibrant democracy, which gives space to those who hold varying views.”

An official statement said the Indian government treats all its citizens with, “equality as enshrined under the Constitution of the country and all laws are applied without discrimination. It added that due process of law is followed in matters relating to law and order, irrespective of the identity of the alleged instigator.

On the issue of use of sedition law, the government said that “public order” and “police” are State subjects and the responsibility of maintaining law and order, rests primarily with the concerned State governments.

Pandemic controlled

Defending the pandemic lockdown, which Freedom House report described as “ham-fisted”, the government detailed the various relief measures undertaken and said that India has, on per capita basis, registered one of the lowest rates of active Covid-19 cases and Covid-19 related deaths globally

“Any mass movement of people would have spread the disease rapidly throughout the country. Taking into consideration these facts, the global experience and need for consistency in the approach and implementation of various containment measures across the country, a nationwide lockdown was announced,” the official statement added.

On the concerns raised in the report on the treatment meted out to human rights organisations, the government reiterated that the Indian Constitution provides for adequate safeguards under various statutes, including the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 for ensuring protection of human rights.

Responding to the concerns on intimidation of academics and journalists by the report, the official statement said, “The Government of India attaches highest importance to the safety and security of all residents of the country, including journalists.”

It also said that the temporary suspension of Internet services is “resorted to with the overarching objective of maintaining law and order under strict safeguards.”

Published on March 05, 2021

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