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'Muslims victimised in India after September 11, December 13': Amnesty International 

London: The Muslim community in India became increasingly vulnerable to victimization after the September 11 atrocities and an attack on the Parliament by Islamic militants in December, Amnesty International said on 28 May.

The victimization, the London-based rights group added in its annual report, was carried out "by both the state and some Hindu political groups." "Tension between the police and Muslim groups erupted into rioting in different parts of the country," Amnesty said. Tension also escalated when Hindu activists began implementing plans to rebuild a temple to the god-king Ram on the site of a razed mosque at Ayodhya, in Uttar Pradesh. Discrimination and abuse at the hands of police was also suffered by socially and economically marginalised sections of society, such as women, Dalits, Adivasis (tribal people) and religious minorities, Amnesty said. 

It said inter-caste and inter-religious tensions "were often politically exploited, leading to several violent incidents throughout the country in which the police were believed to have taken a partisan role." Calls by the United States for a global campaign against terrorism following the attacks on New York and Washington saw the Indian government passing a new security law that gives police wide powers of arrest and allows six months detention without trial. 

"Human rights organisations were concerned that some provisions were not consistent with the rights to freedom of expression and association set out in international human rights standards," Amnesty said. 

"In Kashmir, human rights abuses continued to be committed by armed groups, police and security forces on a large scale," it said. "Tensions between India and Pakistan on the issue of the support of armed groups in Kashmir became a subject of international debate in the context of the bombing campaign in Afghanistan by the US and its allies. 

"These tensions further increased, leading to a military build-up on the border of the two countries, following an attack on the Parliament on December 13 by members of an armed group," Amnesty said. It said at least 16 people were sentenced to death in India in 2001. 

"It was not known if any executions were carried out, nor how many prisoners were held on death row. The government of India does not publish statistical information about the implementation of the death penalty." (AFP)

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