Indian authorities are using politically motivated allegations of tax evasion and financial irregularities to silence human rights activists, journalists, and other critics of the government, Human Rights Watch said today.
In September 2021, government financial officials have carried out raids in Srinagar, Delhi, and Mumbai on journalists’ homes, news offices, an actor’s premises, and the home and office of a human rights activist.
The raids are 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 have brought politically motivated criminal cases, including under broadly worded terrorism and sedition laws, against activists, journalists, academics, students, and others. They have also used foreign funding regulations and allegations of financial misconduct to target outspoken groups.
“The Indian government’s raids appear intended to harass and intimidate critics, and reflect a broader pattern of trying to silence all criticism,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “These abuses weaken India’s core democratic institutions and break down fundamental freedoms.”