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Discrimination Will Affect the Country’s Fight Against the Pandemic

As the number of coronavirus cases in India crossed 10,000, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation on April 14 to announce an extension of the nationwide lockdown until May 3. He acknowledged the hardship, particularly for…
Men wait for a bus that will take them to a quarantine facility in the Nizamuddin area of New Delhi, India, March 31, 2020.
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Government Continues to Clamp Down on Criticism

The fable of the emperor with no clothes is telling in these times of scared silence. Hans Christian Andersen never did say what happened to the boy that shouted the truth. But in India, today, we know that the boy would have been…
Students march to the Parliament House to demand the release of fellow students arrested for sedition, New Delhi, India, March 15, 2016.
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Draconian Laws Are Used to Harass Dissidents

On February 2, the Maharashtra police arrested activist and academic Anand Teltumbde at the Mumbai airport in spite of the Supreme Court’s January 14 order granting him four weeks to apply for anticipatory bail. The police allege…
Graffiti art that calls for respecting freedom of expression in India.
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After researcher Lois Sofia was arrested in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu, on Monday, for shouting slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre, the BJP’s state chief Tamilisai Soundararajan explained that she filed a…
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in a cricket stadium in Srinagar, November 7, 2015.
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When Major Leetul Gogoi was recently detained in Srinagar after a brawl involving civilians, the army chief vowed “exemplary punishment.” “If anyone in the Indian Army, at any rank, does any wrong and it comes to our notice then strict action will…
An Indian police officer walks past a burning tire during a protest after Friday prayers in Srinagar, May 25, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Ismail
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News of Russia has dominated the Washington press for weeks. Whether, when, and to what extent President Trump and his advisors had contacts with Russian officials prior to his electoral win has provided endless fodder for pundits and politicians alike,…
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington D.C., January 28, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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This is only the latest expression of concern over the Indian government’s targeting of activist groups

“Those who have worked for the most marginalised and disempowered sections of society, while holding the government to account, are being persecuted,” read a joint statement by Indian activists after over two dozen groups were denied license to receive…
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses a rally in a cricket stadium in Srinagar, November 7, 2015.
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Police across the country continue to use the law to book people for making offensive comments on social media, blissfully unaware of its deletion from the IT Act. Last November, police in Sheopur, Madhya Pradesh arrested 25-year-old Sattar Khan for…
Graffiti art that calls for respecting freedom of expression in India.
News

Citizens should no longer have to worry about being 'punished by the process' of being subjected to bad laws and the whims of poorly trained police.

In 2012, political cartoonist Aseem Trivedi was charged with sedition for uploading some of his sketches that were critical of the government. “I found a lawyer who fought my case for free,” he said, adding that fighting a criminal case can prove too…
Graffiti art that calls for respecting freedom of expression in India.
News
While on a recent speaking engagement at the University of California, Berkeley, I visited the Free Speech Movement café, homage to the 1960s student protests that changed forever the boundaries of political speech on campuses in the US and elsewhere. It…
JNU student union leader Kanhaiya Kumar addresses students at the JNU campus in New Delhi, India on March 3, 2016.
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The horrific January 7 attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris has led to a raging debate worldwide on the limits to freedom of expression and opinion. In India, a country of many religions and faiths, where tolerance and free…
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“It is not actually snooping.” This was the Indian foreign minister’s response to the U.S. mass surveillance programs that also targeted India. One year ago, Edward Snowden released data revealing that the U.S. National Security Agency had spied on the…
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Sectarianism in the Muslim world is dividing people who have lived together for centuries.

The last month hasn't been a good one for religious tolerance. As Egypt teetered on the edge of chaos following the military's ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, unknown assailants killed a Coptic Christian priest in Sinai and Muslim extremists…
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As rioting resumes in Egypt, militias reign ominously in parts of Libya, and relentless slaughter proceeds in Syria, some are beginning to question whether the Arab Spring was such a good idea after all. But would we really want to condemn entire nations…
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The candidates may disagree on some human rights issues, but the next president will face challenges that transcend partisan lines. How might tomorrow's presidential election affect U.S. policy on human rights? The common wisdom is that unlike their sharp…
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The Arab Spring exploded on the world stage when very few had expected it. Perhaps that is why the Arab autocrats who reigned supreme for decades – as well as the leading global powers who remained on the sidelines or even supported the autocratic regimes…
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Mohannad finally managed to escape the southern city of Daraa on May 9, two weeks after the Syrian army had surrounded the city and cut electricity, phone lines and Internet services, preventing movement into and out of the city. "The situation in Daraa…