Thursday, February 3, 2011

Rights Group Accuse India Of Abusing Terror Suspects

Rights Group Accuse India Of Abusing Terror Suspects

(RTTNews) - International rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) alleged in a report released Wednesday that security forces in India often subject suspects detained in their anti-terrorism operations to religious discrimination and torture.

The HRW report said such abuses and arbitrary arrests of suspects by Indian security forces increased drastically after the bombings in Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad in 2008. It also warned the Indian government that such tactics could have an adverse effect in the country's fight against terrorism.

"State police, jail officials, and other authorities have committed a range of human rights violations, including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and religious discrimination," the New-York-based rights group alleged in the report.

In the 106-page HRW report titled The "Anti-Nationals: Arbitrary Detention and Torture of Terrorism Suspects in India," the rights group urged the Indian government to reform the country's justice system to ensure that such abuses were prevented from taking place during anti-terrorism efforts.

"The shortcomings of state police forces have resulted in ineffectual investigations and widespread abuses in counter-terrorism efforts. Police capacity to collect and analyze forensic evidence is minimal," the report added.

It said most victims of abuse by the security forces were Muslim men detained after the blasts in Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmedabad. They were accused of being members of the Indian Mujahideen militant group which claimed responsibility for the blasts.

The report, based on some 160 interviews with victims, their relatives, lawyers, rights activists and several law enforcement officials, acknowledged that Hindu militant suspects accused of a bombing in the western city of Malegaon were also subjected to abuse by security forces.

While releasing the report in the Indian capital of New Delhi on Wednesday, HRW's South Asia director Meenakshi Ganguly said Indian police are under "tremendous pressure to identify the perpetrators of horrific attacks, but they need to do so without resorting to the use of arbitrary arrests and torture to coerce confessions."

"Allegations of torture are often used as propaganda for recruitment (by militant groups)," Ganguly said. "When torture happens, it is used to bring in other Muslims who are told that their community is under threat."

The Indian government, however, refused to respond to the HRW report in accordance with its policy of not commenting on allegations and accusations made by human rights groups, both domestic and international.

by RTT Staff Writer

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