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Unwarranted: India slams UN Human Rights chief's 'concerns' ahead of Lok Sabha polls Human Rights
Photo courtesy: Screenshot grab from X video

Unwarranted: India slams UN Human Rights chief's 'concerns' ahead of Lok Sabha polls

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 05 Mar 2024, 01:45 pm

New Delhi/IBNS: India has strongly objected to United Nations Human Rights chief Volker Turk's "concerns regarding the restrictions placed on the civic space" ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

India's Ambassador to UN Arindam Bagchi said the "concerns" were "unwarranted" and have no reflection of reality.

Bagchi said, "His concerns in this regard are unwarranted and do not reflect the reality of the largest democracy in the world. In any democracy, argumentation is natural. It is imperative that those in positions of authority do not allow their judgements to be clouded with propaganda.

"Plurality, diversity and inclusivity and openness are core of our democratic polity and our constitutional values. These are backed by fiercely independent institutions including a robust judiciary that aim to protect the rights of all."

Bagchi said the Indian people will cast their vote and freely choose their own government in the upcoming elections, which are set to be held in April and May.

He said, "Our electoral process has been characterised by a high degree of people's participation and full faith in the electoral mandate by all. In fact, we are privileged that many across the world seek to learn from our experience and aspire to emulate it.

"We have no doubt that as in numerous occasions in the past, the Indian people will freely exercise their vote to choose a government that they believe can best voice and flight to their aspirations."

What did the UN Human Rights chief say?

UN Human Rights chief Volker Turk said though he appreciates India's secular and democratic traditions and diversity, he is concerned over the restrictions on civic space and hate speech.

Speaking at the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Turk said as quoted by Times Now, "I am, however, concerned by increasing restrictions on the civic space- with human rights defenders, journalists and perceived critics targeted- as well as by hate speech and discrimination against minorities, especially Muslims."

"It is particularly important in a pre-electoral context to ensure an open space that respects the meaningful participation of everyone. I welcome the Supreme Court's decision last month on campaign finance schemes, upholding the right to information and transparency," he added.

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