Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 26
Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Netherlands on June 27, a civil rights group in an open letter to the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has urged him to take up the “deteriorating” human rights situation in India when he meets his Indian counterpart.
In an open letter written to the Dutch PM, the group, India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), a human rights advocacy group that partners with many international non-governmental bodies, including in India, has drawn attention to the 'silent support for violence of Hindu extremists in India', and also to the fact that for Dutch civil society it has become increasingly difficult to work with Indian human rights organisations as the government sometimes simply refuses visas to such Dutch personnel.
“Under Modi’s Hindu-nationalist government, the marginalisation of minority groups such as Dalits (‘untouchables’), Christians and Muslims has increased significantly. Especially these groups, together more than a third of the Indian population, are nowadays regularly victims of extremist Hindu groups who respond by violence to every alleged abuse of cows. The government of India largely ignores this violence…We urge you to ask PM Modi to actively promote the rights of minorities and to speak out against the violence of the Hindu extremist groups,” the letter said.
The letter has also found mention in the Dutch Parliament when Joel Voordewind, a parliamentarian, on June 22, raised the following questions to his government and asked if his government was "prepared to address the position of frequently discriminated and marginalized groups such as Dalits and Muslims, also in view of the increasing number of violent expressions against them by extremist Hindu groups with regard to the banning of beef?"
The letter is bound to embarrass the government which attempts to keep the focus on every foreign trip in the positives of the visit.
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