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Narendra Modi takes oath as the prime minister of India at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, in New Delhi, June 9, 2024. © 2024 Manish Swarup/AP Photo

(New York) – India’s new government should reverse laws and policies that discriminate against religious minorities and other vulnerable populations and end the crackdown on civil society and the media, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi was sworn in as prime minister on June 9, 2024.

The newly formed Indian government should adopt an agenda that actively promotes and protects human rights, advances the rule of law, strengthens democratic institutions, and upholds the right of every Indian to an adequate standard of living, including food, education, health, and social security.

“India’s new government should end the use of counterterrorism laws and other abusive measures that deprive activists, journalists, and others of their rights,” said Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government should engage with its critics, protect freedom of expression and assembly, and provide room for dissent instead of silencing opponents.”

The Indian government should take concrete steps to protect fundamental civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. Human Rights Watch said. These include free expression and association for civil society; digital rights, including the right to privacy; ending violence and discrimination against religious minorities and vulnerable groups; ending violence against women and girls; improving access to education; ending impunity for security forces; protecting the rights of people with disabilities; protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers; ensuring that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are able to experience all fundamental rights without discrimination; and adopting a rights-focused foreign policy.

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