The Government is not maintaining any record of the arrests of civil rights activists, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told the Parliament on Tuesday, February 2. The reply came in response to a press release by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that mentions about a rise in the restrictions on NGOs and arrests of civil rights activists in India.
Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, G Kishan Reddy said that the National Crime Record Bureau (NCBR) does not maintain any data on the arrests/detention of civil rights activists.
The MPs also asked the ministry, "whether the Government has the data of civil rights activists who are arrested or detained for Bhima Koregaon case, anti-CAA protests and if so, the details thereof?"
Responding to the question, Reddy said that "NCRB is the central agency which compiles the date on crimes as reported by states and UTs and publishes the same in its annual publication. The latest published report is of the year 2019."
The Minister added that the Centre has "taken note of the Press Release dated 20th October 2020 issued by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the restrictions on NGOs and arrests of activists in India and has responded to it appropriately".
"Further, there are safeguards available under the Constitution of India and various statutes including the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, for ensuring protection of human rights," the MHA said in its statement.
Additionally, the government said that it attaches the highest importance to the safety and security of all residents of the country, including journalists.
Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said that the ministry been issuing advisories to states and UTs to maintain law and order and ensure that any person who takes the law into his/her own hand is punished promptly as per law.
"An advisory specifically on the safety of journalists was issued to States/UTs on 20th October 2017 requesting them to strictly enforce the law to ensure safety and security of media persons," Reddy said.