Maria Arena, the Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights has cautioned against the increasing attacks on religious minorities in India, stating that it carries serious implications on European Union and India’s bilateral relations.
“It is with great concern that I have been observing the rule of law deteriorate in India, which is the very cornerstone of our special relationship,” said Arena. She continued that marginalized communities and religious minorities in India, particularly Muslims, “have been under increasing pressure for a long time” for being critics of government policies under the Narendra Modi regime.
Arena’s statement comes after the 15th European Union – India Summit in July this year where participants endorsed the “EU-India Strategic Partnership: A Roadmap to 2025”, reaffirming their “commitment to promoting the shared values of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
While mentioning attacks on Muslims in India, Arena also quoted the Amnesty International India report that revealed “grave human rights violations committed by the Delhi police in the February 2020 Delhi riots.” Concerning the same, she said, “I strongly support the call for a prompt, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into all human rights violations committed by law enforcement officials.” She further called for “a fully independent, public and transparent inquiry into the role of the police in failing to prevent the violence,” accusing the police of “even aiding it.”
Arena expressed serious concerns about “the absence of action by India’s authorities since the outbreak of the violence,” urging the BJP government at the Centre to “promote justice and fight impunity” to ensure stop and prevention of police brutality. She also indicated that Amnesty International India’s recent halting its work in India due to government reprisals is “very worrying.”
Speaking on press gag and witch hunt of scholars in India over the anti-CAA protests, Arena said that such government action “have resulted in arbitrary detentions and an unnecessary loss of life.”
Arena reminded the Indian government that “as a sitting member of the Human Rights Council, India has pledged to continue to foster the genuine participation and effective involvement of civil society in the promotion and protection of human rights,” therefore, the authorities must fulfil its duty as a responsible member of the Council.
She concluded that India must act “in a manner worthy of the global role model it aspires to be,” highlighting that it is “high time for India to translate words into action.”