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Governments silencing dissent, says rights group

The Human Rights Watch group released the report on Tuesday.

Despite the freedom of expression guaranteed under the Constitution, “draconian laws” relating to sedition, criminal defamation and hate speech are used by Indian governments at both the national and state levels to “silence dissent”, says a report released by Human Rights Watch on Tuesday. “These laws are vaguely worded, overly broad, and prone to misuse, and have been repeatedly used for political purposes against critics at the national and state level,” it says.

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Citing examples of abuse of the provisions during the recent JNU protests and Kudankulam protests among others, the report has urged India to “develop a clear plan and timetable for the repeal or amendment of laws that criminalize peaceful expression”. The HRW also called for dropping of all prosecutions and closing all investigations “into cases where the underlying behaviour involved peaceful expression or assembly”.

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First published on: 25-05-2016 at 03:15 IST
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