Human Rights

Cancel all agreements with India till activists released, hunt against Kashmiris stopped: European Parliament members to EU

Nine Members of the European Parliament on Thursday sent a letter to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, regarding the raids on homes, and arbitrary arrest, of nine human and democratic rights activists across India on August 28.

With this letter MEPs Lídia Senra, Ángela Vallina, Paloma López, Merja Killonen, Ana Gomes, Clara Aguilera, Ciprian Tănăsescu, Claude Moraes and Julie Ward urged for the cancellation of all the agreements with the Indian government until the human rights activists are released and the hunt against the Adivasis, Dalits, religious minorities and people of Kashmir and Manipur is stopped.

They also demanded the immediate release of Prof. GN Saibaba, Susan Abraham, Varavara Rao, Father Stan Swamy, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Advocate Surendra Gadling, Prof Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawle, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and all human rights defenders in India.

Recently, India’s Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of the Bhima Koregaon case in which the five activists had been arrested in alleged connection with a Maoist plot to kill Indian PM. The activists will continue to remain in house arrest.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed that challenged the arrests. Both sides have asked for more time to file additional documents. An intervention application was also filed on behalf of the five activists arrested in June – Shoma Sen, Surendra Gadling, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson and Sudhir Dhawale.

Earlier, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra took offence on the statements of the Assistant Commissioner of Police (Pune) and said that he was casting aspersions in court.

ALSO READ: Bhima-Koregaon arrests: IIT-Kanpur alumni faculty demand ‘immediate release’ of Sudha Bharadwaj

Earlier on August 28, Pune police teams raided the houses of activists in Mumbai, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Delhi and Faridabad and arrested five in alleged connection to a Maoist plot, PTI reported.

Activist Sudha Bhardwaj from Faridabad, Varavara Rao in Hyderabad, activists Gautam Navlakha from Delhi, Arun Pereira and Venon Gonsalves from Mumbai have been detained by the police.

The Maharashtra Police defended the arrests of five human rights activists alleging ‘connection to Maoists’ before the Supreme Court of India by saying that the investigation was based on “cogent evidence”.

The defense was in response to a plea which had been filed by Romila Thapar and four others. The police accused the activists of planning to carry out violence, planned ambush against country and security forces.

“Activists were not arrested because of their dissenting opinion, there is sufficient material to dispel this impression,” the Maharashtra Police said.

While raising the red flag on Human rights abuses in India newly appointed UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had slammed India for lack of any ‘meaningful improvement’ on addressing issues highlighted in the UN report on human rights violations in Kashmir.

It was Bachelet’s first address to the United Nations Human Rights Council after her appointment while succeeding Zeid Raad al Hussain as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights this month.

“In her opening remarks at the 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council, Bachelet said the people of Kashmir had the same rights to justice and dignity as people all over the world,” The Indian Express quoted Bachelet as having said.

“The people of Kashmir have exactly the same rights to justice and dignity as people all over the world and we urge authorities to respect them,” she said.

Bachelet also reiterated the UNHRC’s request for unconditional access to Kashmir on either side of the Line of Control, the report said.

‘Pioneering’ former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet was officially appointed new UN human rights chief on August 10. Following the announcement, Bachelet said she was “deeply humbled and honoured” to have been entrusted with “this important task.”

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