The US is monitoring some recent “concerning developments” on human rights violations in India by some government, police, and prison officials, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.
Blinken made these remarks at a joint news conference with Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin and their Indian counterparts — External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh — after the conclusion of the 2+2 Ministerial on Monday.
"We regularly engage with our Indian partners on these shared values (of human rights) and to that end, we are monitoring some recent concerning developments in India including a rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials," Blinken said on Monday in a joint press briefing with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.
Blinken did not elaborate. Singh and Jaishankar, who spoke after Blinken at the briefing, did not comment on the human rights issue.
Blinken's remarks came days after US Representative Ilhan Omar questioned the alleged reluctance of the US government to criticize Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government on human rights.
The US State Department's latest human rights report on India, the world's largest democracy, released in March last year, cited a number of human rights abuses.
The report pointed to "unlawful and arbitrary killings, including extrajudicial killings perpetrated by police" and "restrictions on freedom of expression and the press" including the use of criminal libel laws to police social media.
Earlier this month, an 84-year-old priest and tribal rights activist, charged with terrorism offenses, died after nine months in custody.
It prompted international outrage including from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.
A recent religion-based citizenship law is widely seen as discriminatory towards Muslims.
The government denies cracking down on dissent and says people of all religions have equal rights.