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HRW says India’s ruling BJP targeting Modi govt critics

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday accused the Indian authorities of using politically-motivated allegations of tax evasion and financial irregularities to “silence human rights activists, journalists, and other critics of the government”, and called for an end to this harassment.

In a statement issued here, the New York-based rights group said that in the current month Indian government financial officials carried out raids in Srinagar, New Delhi, and Mumbai on journalists’ homes, news offices, an actor’s premises, as well as the home and office of a human rights activist.

HRW said these raids were part of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led national government’s escalating crackdown on freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly since coming to power in 2014.

The authorities, HRW added, have brought politically-motivated criminal cases, including under broadly worded terrorism and sedition laws, against activists, journalists, academics, students, and others.

According to the rights group, the Indian authorities also used foreign funding regulations and allegations of financial misconduct to target outspoken groups.

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