Twenty members of the European Parliament have written to Central ministers, expressing concern about “worrying signs of shrinking civil society space in India”, newsoutlet The Wire reports.
“India is the largest democracy in the world, and an important strategic partner of the European Union, whereas the relationship between the two is based on shared values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law,” wrote the European parliamentarians. “This is why we are deeply concerned at the recent crackdowns on human rights defenders and organisations across the country.”
The letter Expressing concern that there are “worrying signs of shrinking civil society space in India”, the letter called on the government to “take urgent steps to change course, release all detained human rights defenders in the country, drop all charges against them, and allow them to carry out their work free from risk or impediment”.
It cited a series of events which had led to the letter, beginning with the arrest of three Dalit rights activists, a professor and a social activist in June last year for the Bhima Koregaon violence in January 2018. They were charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).