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India Human Rights

Human Rights Concerns

India is home to a thriving democracy and to recent stunning economic growth. Unfortunately, this has not prevented multiple serious human rights abuses from remaining a fact of life in many parts of the country. Political and separatist violence and the government's heavy-handed response have threatened the well-being and human rights of millions. Economic development has often threatened the livelihoods, land, and lives of the poor who are in its way. Hundreds of millions live in severe poverty, and women, religious minorities, dalits, adivasis and LGBT Indians can face harsh discrimination and shocking violence.

In Jammu & Kashmir, some northeastern states, and wide rural swaths of central India infiltrated by Maoists, civilians are caught between armed insurgents and Indian security forces, suffering violence and human rights abuses by both sides. The state government in J&K has consistently held Kashmiris for months and even years without charge and subjected prisoners to torture, disappearance, and death. In Chhattisgarh, the state has threatened and imprisoned human rights defenders on trumped-up charges of sedition and treason, while state-supported militias operate with impunity. Terrorist attacks by Hindu and Muslim extremists are not uncommon in northern and western India. The 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom in Gujarat continues to go unpunished, as do the mass killings of Sikhs in 1984 and the killing of Muslims across India in 1992-1993. In Orissa and other resource-rich parts of the country massive industrial projects, such as mines, dams and economic development zones, force thousands off their land with inadequate compensation. In Bhopal, site of the world's worst industrial disaster over 26 years ago, thousands of survivors and their children suffer debilitating medical problems while those responsible for the leak walk free.

Along with these headline-grabbing issues are other equally grave human rights concerns that threaten Indians' economic, cultural and social rights. Hundreds of millions of Indians live in extreme poverty and these marginalized people suffer most from a poor healthcare system, often non-existent education, economic exploitation, sexual violence, an overwhelmed judicial system, and police brutality and impunity. Extrajudicial killings by the police are common as is torture in police custody. India retains the use of the death penalty.

Women and girls face persistent discrimination and the threat of rape and other acts of violence, particularly in the north, and often at the hands of family members through dowry deaths, honor killings, and female foeticide. Members of lower castes, as well as adivasis (indigenous people), remain the victims of violence and humiliation despite their growing political and economic empowerment. Many Muslims and Christians face routine violence and harassment on account of their faith. Similarly, LGBT Indians find it very difficult to live openly in Indian society despite significant recent legal rulings in their favor.

Finally, a changing climate and a rapidly growing population will mean that soon millions of Indian lives will be threatened by rising oceans, melting glaciers, unpredictable monsoons, devastating droughts, polluted water sources, growing urban slums, and the resulting societal upheaval.  

Detained Indian Journalist Released!

Santosh Yadav was released from prison on 9 March 2017, over a week after the Supreme Court of India granted him bail. Detained since September 2015, it is believed that he was targeted for his work among Indigenous Adivasi communities in Bastar district, Chhattisgarh. He is required to report to the local police station daily.

India Newsroom



May 18, 2018 • Press Release

Global Wikipedia edit-a-thon shines spotlight on the unsung women defending human rights around the world

Wikipedia enthusiasts from around the world are joining forces on 19 and 20 May 2018 to take part in a global edit-a-thon to shine a spotlight on extraordinary unsung women human rights defenders who have devoted their lives to fighting injustice. BRAVE:Edit, a collaboration between Amnesty International and Wikimedia (Wikipedia’s non-profit organization), will see hundreds …

September 13, 2017 • Report

Losing Sight in Kashmir: The Impact of Pellet-Firing Shotguns

Pellet-firing shotguns, which have been responsible for blinding, killing and traumatizing hundreds of people in Kashmir, must be immediately banned, Amnesty International India reiterated today in a new briefing, “Losing Sight in Kashmir: The Impact of Pellet-Firing Shotguns”.

September 11, 2017 • Press Release

SC verdict on triple talaq a step forward for women’s rights in India

Responding to the Supreme Court’s verdict today declaring the practice of talaq-e-biddat unconstitutional, Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India said: “We welcome the Supreme Court judgment. Triple talaq is a discriminatory practice that violates women’s right to equality, and has devastated the lives of many Muslim women. The Supreme Court’s bar on this …

September 6, 2017 • Press Release

Prominent Indian Journalist Killed Amid Growing Attacks on Dissent

The killing of journalist Gauri Lankesh by gunmen outside her residence in Bengaluru on Tuesday night raises alarms about the state of freedom of expression in the country, said Amnesty International India today.



August 10, 2017 • Press Release

Peaceful protests are not a crime

Responding to the arrest of Medha Patkar, of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), Asmita Basu, Programmes Director at Amnesty International India said: “The right to protest peacefully and without arms is a fundamental right in India. The Madhya Pradesh government must immediately release Medha Patkar and 11 others who were arrested on 9 August when …

July 12, 2017 • Report

Justice Under Trial: A study of pre-trial detention in India

Around 2.8 lakh Indians are being held in prison during their trials or awaiting trial, without having been convicted of a crime. Many have been awaiting trial for years, some for a longer period than their maximum formal sentence. These prisoners who are known as ‘undertrials’ account for two out of three prisoners in India’s …

July 4, 2017 • Press Release

DETENTION OF DALIT RIGHTS ACTIVISTS IN UTTAR PRADESH UNJUSTIFIED

The arrest and detention of Dalit activists in Lucknow by the Uttar Pradesh police for organising a press conference about caste-based violence violates their right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Eight activists who were formally arrested from the Lucknow Press Club have since been released on bail. The activists were planning to discuss, …

June 28, 2017 • Report

India: Hate crimes against Muslims and rising Islamophobia must be condemned

Indian authorities must ensure that there is no impunity for those responsible for public lynchings and other hate crimes against Muslims in several states, Amnesty International India said today. Since April 2017, at least ten Muslim men have been lynched or killed in public in suspected hate crimes, amid a rising tide of Islamophobia in …

October 4, 2016 • Press Release

Closure Of Kashmir Newspaper A Setback To Free Speech

Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir must revoke an order to stop the printing and publication of Kashmir Reader, a Srinagar-based English daily, Amnesty International India said today.  The order, passed by the District Magistrate of Srinagar and served to the publication on 2 October, states that the newspaper “contains such material and content which tends to …

September 21, 2016 • Press Release

India: Kashmiri human rights activist re-arrested

Kashmiri human rights activist Khurram Parvez has been detained a second time, after a court ordered his release from administrative detention on Tuesday. “Detaining a person right after he is released, without any intention to charge him or bring him to trial, amounts to using a revolving door of persecution,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director, …