UN calls for protection of political rights in India ahead of elections

UN calls for protection of political rights in India ahead of elections Photo: Mushfiqul Fazal, Just News BD

Mushfiqul Fazal, UN Correspondent

The United Nations has voiced its expectation for the protection of political and civil rights in India, emphasizing the need for a free and fair voting atmosphere. This statement came from the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Stéphane Dujarric, during a briefing at the UN headquarters on Thursday.

Dujarric urged Indian authorities to ensure an environment where voters can freely exercise their democratic rights as the country prepares for scheduled elections beginning April 19.

During the briefing's Q&A session, UN correspondent Mushfiqul Fazal asked about the ongoing political unrest in India, particularly highlighting the recent arrest of Delhi's chief minister and the freezing of the opposition Congress Party's bank accounts. The situation has been described by rights groups as a crackdown on opposition, escalating tensions ahead of the national election.

In response, Dujarric stressed the importance of safeguarding everyone's political and civil rights, emphasizing the UN's hope for a democratic electoral process where all citizens can vote freely and fairly. The UN spokesperson has said, “What we very much hope that in India, as in any country that is having elections, that everyone’s rights are protected, including political and civil rights, and everyone is able to vote in an atmosphere that is free and fair.”

The arrest of Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi and leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), by India's financial crime agency on March 21, has drawn international attention. AAP is part of the opposition alliance 'INDIA' bloc, aiming to challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming elections.

Following Kejriwal's arrest, the US State Department reiterated its call for fair and transparent legal proceedings. The department also addressed concerns raised by the Congress Party regarding the freezing of its bank accounts, emphasizing the importance of effective campaigning in the upcoming elections. India's response to international statements has been firm, with the Foreign Ministry labeling them as "unhealthy precedents" and accusing some countries of interfering in internal matters.

Earlier, Germany's Foreign Office emphasized Kejriwal's right to a fair trial, leading to diplomatic tensions as the Indian government denounced the remarks as blatant interference.

As India navigates these political challenges, the international community continues to monitor developments closely, emphasizing the importance of upholding democratic principles and ensuring the protection of fundamental rights during the electoral process.