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'Repeal AFSPA': European Parliament blames Manipur violence on Hindu majoritarianism

By Our Representative 

In an unprecedented move, the European Parliament has passed a resolution blaming intolerance towards religious and belief minorities, including Christians; politically motivated, divisive policies promoting Hindu majoritarianism; increase in activity by militant groups; and partisan involvement by security forces for the ongoing violence in Manipur.
Pointing out that the “violent clashes” between the Meitei and Kuki ethnic communities in Manipur since 3 May 2023 have left at least 120 people dead and 50,000 displaced, destroying over 1,700 houses, over 250 churches and several temples and schools, the resolution says all this has “increased distrust in the authorities.”
Noting that imposition a curfew, shoot-on-sight orders and internet shut down have severely hindered information-gathering and reporting by the media and civil society groups, the resolution, adopted by show of hands, approvingly quotes the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for appealing to India to “safeguard the rights of human rights defenders”, while “raising concerns over shrinking space for civil society.”
Urging the Indian authorities to take all necessary measures to “promptly halt” the ongoing ethnic and religious violence, “protect” religious minorities, especially Manipur’s Christian community, in order to “pre-empt any further escalation”, the resolution seeks allowing independent investigations into the violence, while granting “unhindered access to humanitarian aid providers, international observers and journalists.”
Resolution calls for human rights to be integrated into all areas of the EU-India partnership, including trade
Denouncing in “the strongest terms any nationalistic rhetoric” and asking those who are critical of the government’s conduct not be criminalised, it insists on Central government, all political actors and religious leaders “to take urgent steps to restore calm and ensure an inclusive dialogue involving civil society and the affected communities.”
Calling on the Central government to repeal the “unlawful” Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in line with the recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review, even as abiding by “the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials”, the resolution calls for human rights “to be integrated into all areas of the EU-India partnership, including trade.”
Asking all the EU member states to “systematically and publicly raise human rights concerns with India at the highest level, particularly regarding freedom of expression and religion and the shrinking space for civil society”, it seeks “regular dialogue to be organised between the European Parliament and the Parliament of India” for this.



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