India has strongly rebuffed a recent report from a group of United Nations experts concerning ethnic violence in the northeastern state of Manipur, denouncing it as “unwarranted, presumptive, and misleading.” The release, titled ‘India: UN Experts Alarmed by Continuing Abuses in Manipur,’ was issued by the Special Procedure Mandate Holders (SPMH), raising concerns about the government’s response to the ongoing violence in the region.
The UN experts expressed serious apprehensions about what they perceive as a slow and inadequate response from the Indian government, including law enforcement, in addressing physical and sexual violence as well as hate speech in Manipur. They called on the Indian authorities to intensify relief efforts for those affected by the violence and to conduct prompt investigations into acts of violence. Additionally, they voiced concerns about the reported criminalization and harassment of human rights defenders who document cases of violence in the region.
India’s response to the UN experts’ report has been unequivocal. The government contends that the comments made by the UN experts demonstrate a complete lack of understanding of the situation in Manipur and the measures taken by the Indian government to address it. It has rejected the report’s allegations, asserting that it is committed to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
This development comes against the backdrop of ongoing ethnic violence in Manipur, a northeastern state known for its complex ethnic and social dynamics. While the UN experts have called for a more robust government response, India maintains that it is actively engaged in addressing the situation on multiple fronts, including through law enforcement and relief efforts.
In a related development, nearly a month after the reinstatement of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s Lok Sabha membership, a plea has been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the validity of his return to Parliament. The plea argues that a lawmaker who loses their office due to a court conviction cannot rejoin as a Member of Parliament until all charges are acquitted.
In March of this year, Rahul Gandhi was sentenced to two years in prison in a 2019 criminal defamation case, leading to his disqualification as a parliamentarian under the Representation of People Act, 1951. However, the Supreme Court subsequently granted a stay on his conviction, resulting in the reinstatement of his Lok Sabha membership.
The current petition has been submitted by a Lucknow-based advocate who seeks to quash the Lok Sabha Secretariat’s notification restoring Gandhi’s membership. This legal challenge adds another layer of complexity to an already contentious issue, raising questions about the eligibility of politicians with pending criminal cases to hold office in the Indian Parliament.