US Spotlights Government Corruption in India

Washington, May 25 (IANS): The US state department has highlighted "widespread corruption at all levels of government" and separatist, insurgent and societal violence among the most significant human rights problems in India.

"Widespread impunity at all levels of government remained a serious problem," said the department's annual report on human rights released by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here Thursday.

"Investigations into individual cases and legal punishment for perpetrators occurred, but in many cases a lack of accountability due to weak law enforcement, a lack of trained police, and an overburdened court system created an atmosphere of impunity," the report noted.

Other highlighted problems included police and security force abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture and rape.

Also listed were disappearances, poor prison conditions that were frequently life threatening, arbitrary arrest and detention and lengthy pre-trial detention.

"The judiciary was overburdened, and court backlogs led to lengthy delays or the denial of justice, the report said as authorities continued to infringe on citizens' privacy rights," the report said.

The law in some states restricted religious conversion, and there were reports of arrests, but no reports of convictions under these laws, it said.

Separatist insurgents and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, the northeastern states, and the Naxalite belt committed numerous serious abuses, including killing armed forces personnel, police, government officials, and civilians, the report said.

Insurgents were responsible for numerous cases of beheading, kidnapping, torture, rape and extortion, it said.

However, the number of incidents declined considerably in the northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir compared with the previous year, the report noted.


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