Freedom House’s ‘Partly Free’ downgrade of India: The Hidden Bias and the Government’s point-by-point Rebuttal
After US-based ‘watchdog’ Freedom House released an annual report downgrading India’s freedom status to ‘Partly Free’ with a score of 67, the Centre has now issued a point-by-point rebuttal to its claims calling the report ‘misleading, incorrect, and misplaced’.
The report had judged India on its understanding of political rights and civil liberties in the country. Reflecting a bias towards minorities and anti-India entities, it repeatedly discussed the alleged discrimination suffered by Muslims in India, pointed towards arrests of activists and journalists, and action taken against some NGOs in the country.
Calling the Central Government “Hindu nationalist”, it said that “the Government and its allies have presided over rising violence and discriminatory policies affecting the Muslim population and pursued a crackdown on expressions of dissent”.
The government, however, in its statement defended India’s freedom record, pointing to the fact that many states are ruled by parties other than the one at the national level, chosen through an election process that is free and fair and conducted by an independent election body. This, it said, reflects the working of a vibrant democracy, which gives space to those who hold varying views.
On Lockdown and the Migrant Crisis:
The Government asserted its complete responsibility in making sure that people do not face undue distress in the time of an inevitable lockdown to counter and control the Covid-19 pandemic in the country.
It listed measures taken to address the migrant crisis post-lockdown, including allowing them to engage in activities outside containment zones, allowing States to use State Disaster Response Fund, announcing relief package worth Rs. 1.7 Lakh Crores, providing ration free of cost to the poor, and increasing daily wages of laborers.
On the alleged Discrimination and Discriminatory Policies against Muslims:
The government said that the Centre treats all citizens equally as enshrined under the Indian Constitution and that all laws are applicable without any discrimination. Due process of law is followed…