Patterns of violence, impunity and silence | conversation with Bharti Ali and Nidhi Suresh
On 12 December 2019, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 - rightly referred to as India’s Nuremberg Law - was passed, leading to widespread protests across the country. Millions of Indian citizens are protesting against this fundamentally discriminatory law and many, including students, have been met with severe repression and criminalization at the hands of the Police, particularly in the state of Uttar Pradesh (UP).
The brutality of State violence is most visible in the abuse of 41 minors, who have been detained and subjected to custodial torture, criminalization and post custodial coercion in UP. The report Brutalizing Innocence jointly produced by Quill Foundation, Citizens Against Hate and HAQ: Centre for Child Rights documents the police action against minors, the methods and patterns of violence inflicted, the various violations of national and international laws and the inaction of human rights institutions. Based on fact finding missions conducted across various districts in UP between 10 and 24 January, along with verified media accounts, this report records the testimonies of minor victims, witnesses, police officials and photographic evidence of the abuses as well as cases police FIR.
Joining us today to speak about the patterns of State violence, the nature of abuse suffered by the minors, the importance of documenting this evidence and holding the institutions and the State accountable are Bharti Ali and Nidhi Suresh, who were part of the team that put this report together. Bharti Ali is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of HAQ: Centre for Child Rights with nearly 28 years of work in the development sector, focusing on gender and child rights issues. Nidhi Suresh is a programme officer at Quill Foundation, a human rights research and advocacy organization in New Delhi. She also works as a freelance journalist, covering stories on human rights. She is a recent graduate from Utrecht University, Netherlands, with a Masters in Conflict Studies and Human Rights. Previously, for a year, she worked as a reporter in Kashmir based out of Srinagar.