Skip to main content

Deportation of human rights activist: Amnesty is "as opaque as Ministry of Home Affairs", charges senior researcher

Christine Mehta
By Our Representative
A senior activist-researcher Ramesh Gopalakrishnan has questioned premier human rights organisation Amnesty International's silence over the deportation of one of its ex-seniors-most activists Christine Mehta, a US citizen and person of Indian origin, from India in November last year. Mehta was instrumental in authoring the by now well-known Amnesty report "Denied" on human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K).
The report was released on July 1. Ever since she was deported to US, she is out the Amnesty fold. Strongly critical of Amnesty's ways, Gopalakrishnan believes, it was Amnesty's duty to stand by Mehta, which it has not. A product of Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, who decided to be human rights activist and was with Amnesty till April 2014, Gopalakrishnan is independent London-based researcher and a visiting faculty at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai conducting an elective on human rights. 
Qualifying the report prepared under Mehta on J&K "meticulously-researched", Gopalakrishnan recalls how it enumerates the "systemic denial or blocking of official permission to prosecute armed forces or paramilitary personnel in 50-odd cases of human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances and torture."
So deep is the research that "it would be impossible for India’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to deny the report’s details", Gopalakrishnan points out. Anticipating what was coming, she was asked to leave India in November 2014 impounding her "Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card", with the passport having "an exit stamp which renders her future visits to India impossible". Currently, the situation is such that  her "contract with the organization she worked for also came to an abrupt end" (click HERE).
"Mehta’s induced guilt is about having carried out substantial research on the human rights situation in Kashmir for which she had visited the valley several times during 2012-2014", Gopalakrishnan says, adding, "In Mehta’s case, this induced guilt becomes her own and the modern organization she had worked for does not appear to have any guilt about her current situation!"
"One wonders if the modern organization’s mind is as opaque as that of the MHA which ordered her deportation", Gopalakrishnan says, questioning Amnesty's ways, adding, her case reflects on "the Indian national office of the world’s biggest human rights outfit, Amnesty International, which claims to have over seven million supporters standing up against the violations of the world’s governments and the abuses of corporate giants."
Quoting Mehta, Gopalakrishnan says, her "induced guilt" comes from the fact that there was "no permission from the MHA for her, as a PIO status-holder, to visit the valley for business or work purposes", adding, "Such permission is deemed necessary as per India’s visa rules, but she admits that neither she nor Amnesty International’s Indian national office had sought this permission."
Asks Gopalakrishnan, "Does it really matter that Mehta is a foreign national? No, it is amply clear that the violations in Kashmir or any other place remain the same whether or they are researched by an Indian or a foreign national who uses the framework of international human rights law."
An Amnesty insider, Gopalakrishan says, "Our plea that the research on Kashmir should be done by Indian nationals fell on deaf ears". He adds, When Amnesty International’s India national office asked Mehta to do the research on Kashmir, "it ticked off our warning that her visa status could be jeopardized." Yet she was "sent her to Kashmir several times, as a consequence of which, "she has had to face deportation" and is "unable to visit India even to meet her family."

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Dalits in India, Blacks in US suffer 'similar' humiliation: Macwan drafts letter to Trump

Counterview Desk
Well-known human rights activist Martin Macwan, recipient of the prestigious Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Award in 2000, has drafted an open letter to US President Donald Trump following the disturbing turn of events with the murder of George Floyd, leading to widespread protests in the US. He has sought signatures of concerned citizens before sending it to Trump.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.