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    September 09, 2015

    By Gopika Bashi, Women’s Rights Researcher, Amnesty International India

    On 24 August, Amnesty International India launched a petition regarding two Dalit sisters who had been told they had been ordered to be raped and paraded naked by a khap panchayat - an unelected village council - in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh in northern India, as ‘punishment’ because their brother had eloped with a married woman from a dominant caste.

    Amnesty offices around the world circulated similar petitions, so that our supporters globally would have an opportunity to take action. Over 500,000 people have so far signed these petitions.

    Some media organizations have subsequently released reports which have questioned the petition. Some have said that members of the gram panchayat – the elected village council – and members of the dominant caste have denied the allegations. Others have claimed that Amnesty did not investigate the case.

    Unfortunately, these reports have taken the attention away from the situation of the sisters themselves, who along with their family still fear for their safety.

    September 09, 2015

    An Amnesty International India Release

    The Manipur government should carry out prompt, full and independent investigations into all allegations of human rights abuses related to protests in the state in the past few months, including the excessive use of police force, Amnesty International said.

    “Authorities in Manipur must demonstrate their commitment to human rights and the rule of law. They must ensure that they respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest while maintaining public order and safety,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director of Amnesty International India.  

    “Incidents of violence and vandalism by protestors also need to be effectively investigated, and those suspected of human rights abuses brought to trial.”

    Since July 2015, civil society groups and civilians in the Imphal valley have been demonstrating for the implementation of a system to regulate the entry of non-domicile people into the region.  On 8 July, a 16 year old student was killed in a protest in Imphal after being hit by a teargas shell fired by the police.

    July 30, 2015

    The execution of Yakub Memon marks another disheartening use of the death penalty in India, Amnesty International India said today.

    Yakub Abdul Razak Memon was executed by hanging this morning at the Nagpur Central jail. The 53-year-old was convicted for his involvement in a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai in March 1993 which killed 257 people. In 2007, he was convicted and sentenced to death under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) Act, a law that contained provisions incompatible with international fair trial standards. His mercy petition to the President of India was rejected in April 2014.

    Yakub Memon’s mercy petition to the Governor of Maharashtra and a second petition to the President were rejected on Wednesday. Early on Thursday morning, the Supreme Court rejected an application seeking the suspension of the execution for 14 days.

    “This morning, the Indian government essentially killed a man in cold blood to show that killing is wrong,” said Aakar Patel, Executive Director, Amnesty International India.

    July 21, 2015

    The rejection of Yakub Memon’s curative petition in the Supreme Court today, paving the way for his imminent execution, is a disappointing and regressive step towards the continued use of the death penalty in India, said Amnesty International India.

    Yakub Abdul Razak Memon was convicted for his involvement in a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai in March 1993 which killed 257 people. He was arrested in 1994. In 2007, he was convicted and sentenced to death under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (TADA) Act, a law that contained provisions incompatible with international fair trial standards. The conviction was upheld by the Supreme Court in March 2013. Yakub Memon’s mercy petition to the President of India was rejected in April 2014.

    “More than a dozen death sentences were commuted in progressive judgments by the Supreme Court last year. Today’s judgement, in contrast, regrettably puts India in opposition to the global trend towards moving away from the death penalty,” said Divya Iyer, Research Manager at Amnesty International India.

    July 01, 2015

    Amnesty International India News Release

    Twenty-five years after the introduction of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in Jammu and Kashmir, the law continues to feed a cycle of impunity for human rights violations, Amnesty International said in a new report published today.

    The report, Denied: Failures in accountability for human rights violations by security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir, documents the obstacles to justice faced in several cases of human rights violations believed to have been committed by Indian security force personnel in Jammu and Kashmir. It focuses particularly on Section 7 of the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990 (AFSPA), which grants virtual immunity to members of the security forces from prosecution for alleged human rights violations.

    April 09, 2015

    The Telangana Government must order an independent criminal investigation into the killing of five undertrials by Telangana Police on 7 April, Amnesty International India said.

    The Telangana Police say the five undertrials - Viqaruddin, Amjad Ali, Mohammed Hanif, Zakir Ali and Izhar Khan - were being taken in a van by 17 policemen from the Warangal central prison to a court in Hyderabad. The police say that the undertrials attempted to overpower the policemen and snatch their assault rifles, and claim they opened fire in self-defense.

    Video footage given to Amnesty International India by a journalist appears to show the five undertrials inside the police van after they were killed. All five appear to be handcuffed.

    “Impunity for extrajudicial executions is a serious issue in India,” said Abhirr V P, Campaigner at Amnesty International India. “Authorities in Telangana need to urgently conduct an independent criminal investigation into the case to determine if it involved extrajudicial executions disguised as ‘encounter’ killings.”

    March 06, 2015

    Members of a mob who lynched an undertrial suspected of rape in Dimapur, Nagaland must be brought to justice urgently.

    Syed Farid Khan had been arrested for allegedly raping a woman in Dimapur on 24 February. According to local police, he was dragged out from the Dimapur central jail – where he was being held in pre-trial detention - by a mob of around 4000 people. He was then stripped, beaten, pelted with stones, and made to walk naked towards the centre of Dimapur town, seven kilometres away. Syed Farid Khan succumbed to his injuries along the way. The mob then dragged his body to a clock tower and displayed it.

    “This is a serious lapse in the criminal justice system,” said Shemeer Babu, Amnesty International India’s Programmes Director. “The Nagaland government, which is probing this gruesome incident, must ensure that every person who was part of the mob is brought to justice. Failure to do so will send the message that anyone can commit outrageous abuses and attempt to justify them as an expression of public anger.

    December 24, 2014

    The series of attacks, allegedly by armed groups, on unarmed civilians in Assam that has led to the death of at least 50 people and serious injuries to several others is highly condemnable and shows contempt for human lives. Authorities must step up security for civilians and bring the perpetrators to justice.

    The Assam Police said the killings started at Sonitpur district in northern Assam where more than 23 people were killed on 23 December. Several others were killed and injured in Kokrajhar districts as well. Authorities have blamed members of the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB-S) for the attacks.

    The men, women and children killed and injured in these attacks were mostly members of the Adivasi community who traditionally work in the tea gardens of the region.

    This region has witnessed several incidents of violence in the past. In July 2012, clashes broke out between Bodo and Muslim communities, killing over 75 people and displacing thousands from their homes. In May 2014, at least 27 civilians were killed in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts in attacks authorities blamed on NDFB-S. 

    December 16, 2014

    Authorities in India must build on the central government’s decision to decriminalize suicide by dropping all charges of attempted suicide against Prisoner of Conscience Irom Sharmila and releasing her immediately and unconditionally, Amnesty International India said today.

    Irom Sharmila has been held in detention in Manipur for over 14 years on repeated charges of attempted suicide. She has been on a hunger strike since November 2000 demanding the repeal of the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).

    On 10 December, India’s Minister of State for Home Affairs stated in the upper house of Parliament that the central government had decided to repeal Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which makes attempting to commit suicide punishable with imprisonment for up to one year.

    “The Indian government’s decision to decriminalize suicide is in line with an increasing global trend. This move should lead to the immediate release of Irom Sharmila, who has been held in detention merely for exercising her freedom of expression in a peaceful manner,” said Shailesh Rai, Program Director at Amnesty International India.

    December 03, 2014

    A man stands by the water’s edge, proffering a small, sad looking fish. A mud-stained canvas bag full of them hangs from his left shoulder. He tells me he has caught the fish fresh from the pond behind him and it costs just 10 Indian rupees.

    We’re standing in stifling heat on the site of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. On the night of 2 December, 1984, 80,000 pounds (36,300kg) of toxic gas leaked from Union Carbide’s pesticide factory in Bhopal, poisoning more than half a million people. It’s estimated that up to 10,000 died in the first three days as chemicals tore through their internal organs. Many choked to death on their own fluids, while thousands more have been suffering a slow and painful death since.

    The man is fishing from one of Union Carbide’s abandoned evaporation ponds, used between 1970 and 1984 to remove water from hazardous waste. After the disaster, the plant was abandoned and never cleaned up. The hazardous chemical waste remains. The fish this man will take home to feed his family have been swimming, eating and breeding in it.

    November 30, 2014

    Embargoed until 0001 IST 1 December (1831 GMT 30 November)

    New poll results published today show clear public support, in both India and the USA, for US corporation Union Carbide to face an Indian court over the Bhopal gas leak disaster which left more than 20,000 people dead and poisoned more than half a million in 1984.

    Marking the 30th anniversary of the disaster, the poll, carried out by YouGov for Amnesty International, finds that a massive 82 per cent of Indians surveyed want to see Union Carbide attend the Indian courts about its role in the gas leak at the Bhopal plant. While fewer US respondents expressed a view, of those who did, almost two thirds (62%) agreed with that call.

    The corporation has consistently refused to answer charges of culpable homicide in the Indian courts.

    “This poll shows that the verdict in the court of public opinion is clear. Justice has not been delivered for Bhopal, and people will not stand for it,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, speaking from Bhopal after a visit to the site of the leak.

    November 26, 2014

    When we meet Shahzadi Bi in September, she is busy chaining herself to a fence. It’s not just any fence, but the one that surrounds the Chief Minister’s residence in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, where Bhopal is the capital. She is among a group of protesters demanding that the minister keep his promise of providing each survivor of the 1984 gas leak – the more than 570,000 who were exposed – 500,000 Indian rupees (US$8,170) as compensation.

    Shahzadi, aged 60, lives in Blue Moon Colony, one of the 22 slums that surround the old pesticide factory formerly owned by Union Carbide India Limited. This area is blighted by water contamination, caused by chemicals from the abandoned factory site.

    The disaster overturned her and her family’s lives. “Everyone has dreams,” she says. “I too had those. My dream was not about becoming a teacher or doctor… I wished that we would provide a good education to our children… but the gas leak shattered all these dreams.”

    November 26, 2014
    Rampyari Bai is one of Bhopal’s most persistent survivors.

    Now aged 90, she began her struggle in the wake of the disaster. In 1984 she was living with her son and his wife in a shanty near the factory. Her daughter-in-law died during the gas leak.

    INDIA: ACTION FOR SURVIVORS ON 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF BHOPAL TRAGEDY

    November 21, 2014

    Download the PDF here

    Safreen in a photo taken in Bhopal in 2014
    Image courtesy Amnesty International © Raghu Rai / Magnum Photos

     

    Safreen Khan is 20 years old. She lives beside a chemical factory in Bhopal, India.

    One night ten years before Safreen was born, a deadly gas began leaking from the factory. It killed 10,000 people in three days.

    Safreen first heard about the Bhopal disaster when she was at school. “Then,” she said, “I tried to gather more information by asking my mother. I came to understand that the problems that my family were going through started with the gas leak.”

    The disaster happened at midnight as December 2 rolled into December 3, 1984. About half a million people suffered terrible health impacts. Many of them could not afford doctors or medicine. Many people were too sick to continue to work.

    November 14, 2014

    Survivors and activists have long criticized the Indian government for massively underestimating the number of dead and injured after the Bhopal gas leak. © PUNIT PARANJPE/AFP/Getty Images

    India’s government has today agreed to increase a multi-million dollar compensation claim against Union Carbide over the 1984 gas leak from the company's pesticide plant that poisoned more than half a million people.

    The government promised to revise the numbers of deaths and injuries for which it was seeking compensation in order to end a nil-by-mouth hunger strike by five women, who began their action on 10 November.

    “This is a major victory for survivors of the 1984 gas leak, but subsequent generations of Bhopalis continue to suffer as chemicals abandoned by Union Carbide 30 years ago still leak into the groundwater today,” said Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty International’s Director for Global Issues.

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