Sikh News Rights Rap For India: USA Praises 'rewriting' Textbooks (The Statesman)

Jun 1, 2004
Press Trust of India
WASHINGTON, March 29. — Despite being a “vibrant democracy”, India’s human rights enforcement record has been “poor” and needs improvement, the USA has said in a report.
In its second such report in a month, the US State Department yesterday criticised New Delhi’s human rights record but said the new UPA government at the Centre has started addressing rights concerns that have “arisen over the years”.
While lauding the Centre for “rewriting school textbooks” and “addressing the aftermath of the Gujarat riots”, the 293-page report, titled “Supporting Human Rights and Democracy,” reiterated concern over the situation in Gujarat.
“Following its electoral victory in May, the government began to address a number of human rights concerns that have arisen in recent years. For example, it moved quickly to rewrite school textbooks... in order to stress the contributions of the Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist and Christian minority communities,” it said. However, it said, the rewriting of the textbooks has not been completed, and alleged that Gujarat government has not recalled its old textbooks or announced plans for their replacement.
“The government also began to address the aftermath of the Gujarat riots,” the report said and noted that the Supreme Court ordered local courts to reopen over 2,000 cases of the riots. But by the end of last year, “the report on the number of cases that should be reopened had not been submitted to the Supreme Court, and only three cases related to the rioting had completed trial in the lower level courts,” the report charged.
The report referred to allegations of witness intimidation, cases that have not been reopened, and increasing displacement and “ghettoisation” of the Muslim community. The report also said that Pota-like laws such as the Armed Forces Special Powers Act remained in force in many states, “leading to serious rights violations”.