- Dongria Kondh and other Adivasi communities at Niyamgiri in Orissa resumed protests after the authorities granted environmental clearance for a bauxite mine to be operated by a subsidiary of UK based Vedanta Resources and the Orissa Mining Corporation.
Excessive use of force
In several states, police used unnecessary or excessive force against protesters from marginalized communities. Human rights defenders campaigning for the land and environmental rights of rural communities were often detained, intimidated or harassed by the police.
- In November, police shot dead Adivasi leaders Singanna and Andrew Nachika of the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh, an organization working for Adivasi land rights at Narayanpatna in Korapur district, Orissa. The two men took part in a demonstration highlighting alleged police brutality against Adivasi communities. The police described the demonstration as an attack.
- In October, Madhya Pradesh police used unnecessary force on peaceful protesters from the Save Narmada Movement, arresting 20 of its leaders. The protesters were demanding consultation and the implementation of judicial orders for the rehabilitation of Adivasi and other communities displaced by irrigation projects.
- In August, Orissa authorities released Abhay Sahoo of the Communist Party of India. He had been jailed for 10 months on 20 different charges after leading a protest against the threat of forced evictions spurred by the establishment of the South Korean POSCO steel plant.
The Indian government failed to ensure accountability for many past human rights abuses.
Twenty people have so far been convicted of the targeted massacre of about 3,000 Sikhs in northern India (including Delhi) after the assassination of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1984.
- Public pressure forced the Central Bureau of Investigation to prosecute Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar, two Congress Party leaders accused of inciting their supporters to commit the Delhi massacres, after initially stating that there was no evidence against them. Protesters forced the ruling Congress Party to drop the two men from its list of candidates for general elections.
Human rights violations
Perpetrators of human rights violations in Punjab between 1984 and 1994, and Assam between 1998 and 2001 – including enforced disappearances and extrajudicial executions – continued to evade justice. Impunity persisted for past offences, including enforced disappearances of thousands of people during the armed conflict in Kashmir since 1989. The International People's Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian-administered Kashmir published a report documenting unmarked graves of more than 2,900 people who allegedly disappeared during the Kashmir conflict.
Most of those responsible for the attacks on Muslim minorities in 2002 in Gujarat and other human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions in that state, were not brought to justice. Existing cases made little progress during the year.
- A magisterial inquiry found the killing of Ishrat Jahan and three others by Gujarat police on 16 June 2004 to be "cold-blooded murders". However, this report was challenged by the Gujarat Government in the High Court which established a Special Investigation Team to look into the case. Acting on a petition filed by the family of Ishrat Jahan, the Supreme Court stayed the proceedings before the High Court while hearing the case.
Some 15,000 people, mostly Christians, were displaced in 2008 in Orissa following violence by hundreds of supporters of Hindu nationalist organizations. By year's end, most had yet to return home. Judicial inquiries into the violence remained incomplete and the authorities failed to press charges against the majority of attackers.
An official commission indicted 68 leaders of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and other allied Hindu nationalist organizations for the 1992 destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya. To date, no one has faced charges. Impunity continued for those who took part in the attendant violence and the ensuing massacres in some states.