In a disturbing pattern, Hindu religious festivals in the past week have been used across India as pretexts to organise menacing armed marches through Muslim localities, raising slogans declaring that only those who acknowledge Hindu supremacy can be allowed to stay in India. First on Ram Navami, and then again on Hanuman Jayanti, RSS-affiliated outfits held processions intended only to humiliate, intimidate and attack Muslims, and vandalise mosques. These violent processions were met with retaliatory stone-pelting at some places by the minority Muslim community.

Recent bail judgments in India hold up a mirror to blatant judicial double standards – showing lenience towards Hindu-supremacist hate while showing indifference to the indefinite imprisonment of scores of defenders of democracy as under-trials under draconian laws.

We are deeply concerned at the introduction of the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 in the Lok Sabha without any public consultation.

This Bill is aimed at drastically expanding the scope of the State’s powers to collect, store, and utilise the body-related data of citizens. If passed as it is now, it will allow the government agencies to violate citizens’ privacy indiscriminately, and to use technologies like facial recognition to surveil, police, and profile neighbourhoods and protest gatherings and streets.