'NIA raids aimed at silencing rights groups'

'NIA raids aimed at silencing rights groups'

National Investigation Agency (NIA). Credit: DH File Image

In a joint statement, 27 civil society organisations and more than 50 individuals have condemned the last month's raids against NGOs working for civil rights. 

The All Progressive Women's Association, student associations and various bodies representing lawyers, Dalits, workers' unions and others said the raids conducted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Khurram Parvez of the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), Parveena Ahanger of the Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP), Parvez Ahmed Bukhari and Ahmad Matta of Equitable Tourism Options, Bengaluru-based NGO Equations and its employee Swathi Seshadri and others was aimed at silencing them. 

"The objective of these search operations appears to be that of projecting experienced and prominent human rights defenders and activists as not merely 'anti-national', as was the case over the past several years, but to now dub them as accomplices of 'terror’ activities'," the statement said. 

It further noted that the invocation of the stringent UAPA denies the constitutionally mandated legal remedy of bail. "We demand that the government of India and its agencies must respect the Constitution and stop persecuting conscientious citizens," it added