Defend Peaceful Protests, Defend India’s Right to Dissent!
People in India are facing police brutality, repressive laws and rampant internet shutdowns that curb the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, expression and association. Write to the Prime Minister of India and demand him to speak up and respect the right to dissent – of all his citizens.
Last year in December, the Government of India passed the bigoted Citizenship (Amendment) Act that discriminates against Muslims and refugees. In an inspiring turn of events, hundreds of thousands of people across India took to the streets to peacefully protest against this legislation.
From Delhi to Kochi: young students on campuses to the women in Shaheen Bagh, are collectively upholding their constitutional right to dissent and India’s rich legacy of peaceful protest – at great personal risk.
These peaceful protestors risk facing police brutality (police are using lethal and less-lethal weapons for ‘crowd-control’), arbitrary detention under repressive or colonial laws and discriminatory treatment in detention. They are also facing extreme violence and demonisation by those who disagree with them.
So far, the Prime Minister of the nation has not taken any efforts to ensure the protection of peaceful protestors. Instead, he has maintained silence on the matter.
The nation-wide wave of peaceful protests is still ongoing, yet state governments, instead of listening to its citizens, have chosen to repress them. From enforcing Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, sedition laws, multi-city internet shutdowns to National Security Act – the heavy handed approach of the Government demonstrates the betrayal of what India stands for: upholding the dignity and liberty of its people.
The authorities are not only curbing freedom of expression and the right to peaceful assembly and association, but are also using excessive force to deter future peaceful protests – which has resulted in the arrests of over 1000 people, detention of over 5000 persons and at least 30 deaths. With this, India stands in complete violation of international human rights laws and standards.
In 2018, the Prime Minister claimed that criticism makes democracy strong. Sign this petition to the Prime Minister , demand him to speak up again on dissent in 2020!