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India

The people of India have had a continuous civilization since 2500 B.C., when the inhabitants of the Indus River valley developed an urban culture based on commerce and sustained by agricultural trade. This civilization declined around 1500 B.C., probably due to ecological changes.

During the second millennium B.C., pastoral, Aryan-speaking tribes migrated from the northwest into the subcontinent. As they settled in the middle Ganges River valley, they adapted to antecedent cultures.

The political map of ancient and medieval India was made up of myriad kingdoms with fluctuating boundaries. In the 4th and 5th centuries A.D., northern India was unified under the Gupta Dynasty. During this period, known as India's Golden Age, Hindu culture and political administration reached new heights.

Islam spread across the subcontinent over a period of 500 years. In the 10th and 11th centuries, Turks and Afghans invaded India and established sultanates in Delhi. In the early 16th century, the Chaghtai Turkish adventurer and distant relative of Timurlang, Babur, established the Mughal  Dynasty, which lasted for 200 years. South India followed an independent path, but by the 17th century it too came under the direct rule of influence of the expanding Mughal Empire. While most of Indian society in its thousands of villages remained untouched by the political struggles going on around them, Indian courtly culture evolved into a unique blend of Hindu and Muslim traditions.

The first British outpost in South Asia was established by the English East India Company in 1619 at Surat on the northwestern coast. Later in the century, the Company opened permanent trading stations at Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta, each under the protection of native rulers.

The British expanded their influence from these footholds until, by the 1850s, they controlled most of present-day India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. In 1857, a rebellion in north India led by mutinous Indian soldiers caused the British Parliament to transfer all political power from the East India Company to the Crown. Great Britain began administering most of India directly while controlling the rest through treaties with local rulers.

In the late 1800s, the first steps were taken toward self-government in British India with the appointment of Indian councilors to advise the British viceroy and the establishment of provincial councils with Indian members; the British subsequently widened participation in legislative councils. Beginning in 1920, Indian leader Mohandas K. Gandhi transformed the Indian National Congress political party into a mass movement to campaign against British colonial rule. The party used both parliamentary and nonviolent resistance and noncooperation to achieve independence.

On August 15, 1947, India became a dominion within the Commonwealth, with Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister. Enmity between Hindus and Muslims led the British to partition British India, creating East and West Pakistan, where there were Muslim majorities. India became a republic within the Commonwealth after promulgating its Constitution on January 26, 1950.

After independence, the Congress Party, the party of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, ruled India under the influence first of Nehru and then his daughter and grandson, with the exception of two brief periods in the 1970s and 1980s.

Prime Minister Nehru governed the nation until his death in 1964. He was succeeded by Lal Bahadur Shastri, who also died in office. In 1966, power passed to Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi, Prime Minister from 1966 to 1977. In 1975, beset with deepening political and economic problems, Mrs. Gandhi declared a state of emergency and suspended many civil liberties. Seeking a mandate at the polls for her policies, she called for elections in 1977, only to be defeated by Moraji Desai, who headed the Janata Party, an amalgam of five opposition parties.

In 1979, Desai's Government crumbled. Charan Singh formed an interim government, which was followed by Mrs. Gandhi's return to power in January 1980. On October 31, 1984, Mrs. Gandhi was assassinated, and her son, Rajiv, was chosen by the Congress (I)--for "Indira"--Party to take her place. His Congress government was plagued with allegations of corruption resulting in an early call for national elections in 1989.

In the 1989 elections Rajiv Gandhi and Congress won more seats than any other single party, but he was unable to form a government with a clear majority. The Janata Dal, a union of opposition parties, then joined with the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on the right and the communists on the left to form the government. This loose coalition collapsed in November 1990, and Janata Dal, supported by the Congress (I), came to power for a short period, with Chandra Shekhar as Prime Minister. That alliance also collapsed, resulting in national elections in June 1991.

On May 27, 1991, while campaigning in Tamil Nadu on behalf of Congress (I), Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated, apparently by Tamil extremists from Sri Lanka. In the elections, Congress (I) won 213 parliamentary seats and returned to power at the head of a coalition, under the leadership of P.V. Narasimha Rao. This Congress-led government, which served a full 5-year term, initiated a gradual process of economic liberalization and reform, which opened the Indian economy to global trade and investment. India's domestic politics also took new shape, as the nationalist appeal of the Congress Party gave way to traditional alignments by caste, creed, and ethnicity leading to the founding of a plethora of small, regionally based political parties.

The final months of the Rao-led government in the spring of 1996 were marred by several major political corruption scandals, which contributed to the worst electoral performance by the Congress Party in its history. The Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged from the May 1996 national elections as the single-largest party in the Lok Sabha but without a parliamentary majority. Under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the subsequent BJP coalition lasted only 13 days. With all political parties wishing to avoid another round of elections, a 14-party coalition led by the Janata Dal formed a government known as the United Front, under the former Chief Minister of Karnataka, H.D. Deve Gowda. His government collapsed after less than a year, when the Congress Party withdrew his support in March 1997. Inder Kumar Gujral replaced Deve Gowda as the consensus choice for Prime Minister at the head of a 16-party United Front coalition.

In November 1997, the Congress Party again withdrew support from the United Front. In new elections in February 1998, the BJP won the largest number of seats in Parliament--182--but fell far short of a majority. On March 20, 1998, the President inaugurated a BJP-led coalition government with Vajpayee again serving as Prime Minister. On May 11 and 13, 1998, this government conducted a series of underground nuclear tests, forcing U.S. President Clinton to impose economic sanctions on India pursuant to the 1994 Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Act.

In April 1999, the BJP-led coalition government fell apart, leading to fresh elections in September. The National Democratic Alliance--a new coalition led by the BJP--gained a majority to form the government with Vajpayee as Prime Minister in October 1999.

The Kargil conflict in 1999 and an attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001 led to increased tensions with Pakistan. Hindu nationalists have long agitated to build a temple on a disputed site in Ayodhya. In February 2002, a mob of Muslims attacked a train carrying Hindu volunteers returning from Ayodhya to the state of Gujarat, and 57 were burnt alive. Over 900 people were killed and 100,000 left homeless in the resulting anti-Muslim riots throughout the state. This led to accusations that the state government had not done enough to contain the riots, or arrest and prosecute the rioters.

The ruling BJP-led coalition was defeated in a five-stage election held in April and May of 2004, and a Congress-led coalition took power on May 22 with Manmohan Singh as Prime Minister.

CIVIL DISORDER

In addition to the regular armed forces, India also has paramilitary forces. These forces have grown dramatically since independence. There are twelve paramilitary organizations, which have an authorized strength of around 1.3 million personnel. In 1994, their reported actual strength was 692,500. These organizations include the Coast Guard Organization and the Defense Security Force, which are subordinate to the Ministry of Defense. Paramilitary forces subordinate to the Ministry of Home Affairs include the Assam Rifles, the Border Security Force, the Central Industrial Security Force, the Central Reserve Police Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and the Rashtriya Rifles (National Rifles). The National Security Guards, a joint antiterrorist contingency force, are charged with protection of high-level persons (the so-called very important persons--VVIPs) and are subordinate to the Office of the Prime Minister (also sometimes known as the Prime Minister's Secretariat.) The guards are composed of elements of the armed forces, the Central Reserve Police Force, and the Border Security Force. The Special Frontier Force also is subordinate to the Office of the Prime Minister. The Railway Protection Force is subordinate to the Ministry of Railways. At the local level, there is the Provincial Armed Constabulary, which is controlled by the governments of the states and territories.

During the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, local police forces could not deal with the mounting array of sectarian, ethnic, and regional conflicts, and paramilitary forces were increasingly called on for assistance. In addition to security and guard duties, paramilitary organizations assist local and state-level police forces in maintaining public order and shield the army from excessive use in "aid-to-the-civil-power" operations. These operations essentially involve quelling public disorder when local police forces prove inadequate to the task.

The Coast Guard Organization was constituted as an Armed Force of the Union in 1978 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defense (although it is funded by the Ministry of Home Affairs), following its 1977 establishment as a temporary navy element. Its principal mission is to protect the country's maritime assets, particularly India's 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and the marine resources contained in the area, which comprises nearly 2.8 million square kilometers. The coast guard is also responsible for the prevention of poaching and smuggling, the control of marine pollution, and carrying out search-and-rescue missions. Under the command of a director general, the coast guard is organized into three national maritime zones: the Western Maritime Zone, headquartered at Bombay; the Eastern Maritime Zone, headquartered at Madras; and the Andaman and Nicobar Maritime Zone, headquartered at Port Blair. The zones are further subdivided into district headquarters, one each for the eight maritime states on the mainland and two in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In times of emergency, the coast guard is expected to work with the navy. In the late 1980s, coast guard units from the eastern zone supported Indian peacekeeping efforts in Sri Lanka. The coast guard's equipment includes about fifty ships, nine helicopters, and thirteen fixed-wing aircraft.

Another Ministry of Defense paramilitary organization has a security mission. The Defense Security Force guards Ministry of Defense facilities throughout India.

The Border Security Force was established in the closing days of the 1965 Indo-Pakistani conflict. Its principal mission involves guarding the Indo-Pakistani line of actual control in Jammu and Kashmir as well as borders with Bangladesh and Burma. It works in internal security and counterinsurgency operations in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab. The border force has also been used to deal with communal rioting.

Another Ministry of Homes Affairs paramilitary force deployed in Jammu and Kashmir is the Rashtriya Rifles. In 1994 it had 5,000 troops, all of whom served in Jammu and Kashmir. Some observers expected the force to grow to thirty battalions, with around 25,000 personnel. In March 1995, Indian television referred to the Delta Force of the "fledgling" Rashtriya Rifles. It was reported that the force was operating against "terrorists" and "foreign mercenaries" in Doda District in south central Jammu and Kashmir.

Founded in 1939, the Central Reserve Police Force is the country's oldest paramilitary organization. It maintains internal order when local and state-level forces prove inadequate to the task. The Central Reserve Police Force in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab has worked in counterinsurgency operations. This force also was dispatched to Sri Lanka during India's 1987-90 involvement there. The Ministry of Defense’s weekly armed forces magazine, Sainik Samachar , reported that the Mahila Battalion (Women's Battalion) of the Central Reserve Police Force had "proved its mettle in hot warlike conditions in Sri Lanka," and had established women as "a force to reckon with" in the paramilitary.

Another significant paramilitary organization is the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, established in 1962 in the aftermath of the war with China. It is primarily responsible for the security of the border with China.

The Special Frontier Force, established in 1962 in the aftermath of the war with China, is less well publicized by the government. Apparently it is an elite, parachute-qualified commando unit, nominally subordinate to the army and deployed along sensitive areas of the border with China, and recruited partially from among border-area hill tribes and Tibetan refugees. The Special Frontier Force also appears to have a domestic security role; members of the force were involved in the Golden Temple siege in 1984. In 1994 its reported strength was 3,000, making it one of the smallest paramilitary forces.

ECONOMY

India's population is estimated at nearly 1.07 billion and is growing at 1.7% a year. It has the world's 12th largest economy--and the third largest in Asia behind Japan and China--with total GDP of around $570 billion. Services, industry and agriculture account for 50.7%, 26.6% and 22.7% of GDP respectively. Nearly two-thirds of the population depends on agriculture for their livelihood. About 25% of the population lives below the poverty line, but a large and growing middle class of 320-340 million has disposable income for consumer goods.

India is continuing to move forward with market-oriented economic reforms that began in 1991. Recent reforms include liberalized foreign investment and exchange regimes, industrial decontrol, significant reductions in tariffs and other trade barriers, reform and modernization of the financial sector, significant adjustments in government monetary and fiscal policies and safeguarding intellectual property rights.

Real GDP growth for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2004 was 8.17%, up from the drought-depressed 4.0% growth in the previous year. Growth for the year ending March 31, 2005 is expected to be between 6.5% and 7.0%. Foreign portfolio and direct investment in-flows have risen significantly in recent years. They have contributed to the $120 billion in foreign exchange reserves at the end of June 2004. Government receipts from privatization were about $3 billion in fiscal year 2003-04.

However, economic growth is constrained by inadequate infrastructure, a cumbersome bureaucracy, corruption, labor market rigidities, regulatory and foreign investment controls, the "reservation" of key products for small-scale industries and high fiscal deficits. The outlook for further trade liberalization is mixed. India eliminated quotas on 1,420 consumer imports in 2002 and has announced its intention to continue to lower customs duties. However, the tax structure is complex with compounding effects of various taxes.

The United States is India's largest trading partner. Bilateral trade in 2003 was $18.1 billion and is expected to reach $20 billion in 2004. Principal U.S. exports are diagnostic or lab reagents, aircraft and parts, advanced machinery, cotton, fertilizers, ferrous waste/scrap metal and computer hardware. Major U.S. imports from India include textiles and ready-made garments, internet-enabled services, agricultural and related products, gems and jewelry, leather products and chemicals.

The rapidly growing software sector is boosting service exports and modernizing India's economy. Revenues from IT industry are expected to cross $20 billion in 2004-05. Software exports were $12.5 billion in 2003-04. PC penetration is 8 per 1,000 persons, but is expected to grow to 10 per 1,000 by 2005. The cellular mobile market is expected to surge to over 50 million subscribers by 2005 from the present 36 million users. The country has 52 million cable TV customers.

The United States is India's largest investment partner, with total inflow of U.S. direct investment estimated at $3.7 billion in 2003. Proposals for direct foreign investment are considered by the Foreign Investment Promotion Board and generally receive government approval. Automatic approvals are available for investments involving up to 100% foreign equity, depending on the kind of industry. Foreign investment is particularly sought after in power generation, telecommunications, ports, roads, petroleum exploration/processing and mining.

India's external debt was $112 billion in 2003, up from $105 billion in 2002. Bilateral assistance was approximately $2.62 billion in 2002-03, with the United States providing about $130.2 million in development assistance in 2003. The World Bank plans to double aid to India to almost $3 billion over the next four years, beginning in July 2004.

BELIEFS

The influx of newcomers disinclined to follow tribal ways has had a massive impact on social relations and tribal belief systems. In many communities, the immigrants have brought on nothing less than the total disintegration of the communities they entered. Even where outsiders are not residents in villages, traditional forms of social control and authority are less effective because tribal people are patently dependent on politico-economic forces beyond their control. In general, traditional headmen no longer have official backing for their role in village affairs, although many continue to exercise considerable influence. Headmen can no longer control the allocation of land or decide who has the right to settle in the village, a loss of power that has had an insidious effect on village solidarity.

Some headmen have taken to leasing village land to outsiders, thus enriching themselves at the expense of the rest of the tribes. Conflict over land rights has introduced a point of cleavage into village social relations; increased factional conflict has seriously eroded the ability of tribes to ward off the intrusion of outsiders. In some villages, tribal schoolteachers have emerged as a new political force, a counterbalance to the traditional headman. Changes in landholding patterns have also altered the role of the joint family. More and more couples set up separate households as soon as they marry. Because land is no longer held and farmed in common and has grown more scarce, inheritance disputes have increased.

Hunters and gatherers are particularly vulnerable to these far-reaching changes. The lack of strong authority figures in most hunting and gathering groups handicaps these tribes in organizing to negotiate with the government. In addition, these tribes are too small to have much political leverage. Forced settlement schemes also have had a deleterious impact on the tribes and their environment. Government-organized villages are typically larger than traditional hunting and gathering settlements. Forest reserves limit the amount of territory over which tribes can range freely. Larger villages and smaller territories have led, in some instances, to an increase in crime and violence. Traditionally, hunters and gatherers "settled" their disputes by arranging for the antagonists simply to avoid one another; new, more circumscribed villages preclude this arrangement.

Tribal beliefs and rituals have altered in the face of increased contact with Hindus and missionaries of a variety of persuasions. Among groups in more intense contact with the Hindu majority, there have been various transformations. The Gonds, for example, traditionally worshiped clan gods through elaborate rites, with Pardhans organizing and performing the necessary rituals. The increasing impoverishment of large sections of the Gond tribe has made it difficult, if not impossible, to support the Pardhans as a class of ritual specialists. At the same time, many Gonds have concluded that the tribal gods were losing their power and efficacy. Gonds have tended to seek the assistance of other deities, and thus there has been widespread Hinduization of Gondi belief and practice. Some tribes have adopted the Hindu practice of having costly elaborate weddings--a custom that contributes to indebtedness (as it has in many rural Indian families) and subjects them to the cash economy on the most deleterious of terms. Some families have adapted a traditional marriage pattern--that of capturing a bride--to modern conditions, using the custom to avoid the costly outlays associated with a formal wedding.

Christian missionaries have been active among sundry tribes since the mid-nineteenth century. Conversion to Christianity offers a number of advantages, not the least of which is education. It was through the efforts of various Christian sects to translate the Bible into tribal languages that those tongues acquired a written script. Christian proselytizing has served to preserve tribal lore and language in written form at the same time that it has tended to change drastically the tribe's cultural heritage and belief systems. In some instances, the introduction of Christianity has driven a wedge between converts and their fellow tribal members who continue to adhere to traditional beliefs and practices

CRIMINAL CODES

Under the constitution, criminal jurisdiction belongs concurrently to the central government and the states. The prevailing law on crime prevention and punishment is embodied in two principal statutes: the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973. These laws take precedence over any state legislation, and the states cannot alter or amend them. Separate legislation enacted by both the states and the central government also has established criminal liability for acts such as smuggling, illegal use of arms and ammunition, and corruption. All legislation, however, remains subordinate to the constitution.

The Indian Penal Code came into force in 1862; as amended, it continued in force in 1993. Based on British criminal law, the code defines basic crimes and punishments, applies to resident foreigners and citizens alike, and recognizes offenses committed abroad by Indian nationals.

The penal code classifies crimes under various categories: crimes against the state, the armed forces, public order, the human body, and property; and crimes relating to elections, religion, marriage, and health, safety, decency, and morals. Crimes are cognizable or noncognizable, comparable to the distinction between felonies and misdemeanors in legal use in the United States. Six categories of punishment include fines, forfeiture of property, simple imprisonment, rigorous imprisonment with hard labor, life imprisonment, and death. An individual can be imprisoned for failure to pay fines, and up to three months' solitary confinement can occur during rare rigorous imprisonment sentences. Commutation is possible for death and life sentences.

A multiplicity of motives underlay the British penetration into India: commerce, security, and a purported moral uplift of the people. The "expansive force" of private and company trade eventually led to the conquest or annexation of territories in which spices, cotton, and opium were produced. British investors ventured into the unfamiliar interior landscape in search of opportunities that promised substantial profits. British economic penetration was aided by Indian collaborators, such as the bankers and merchants who controlled intricate credit networks. British rule in India would have been a frustrated or half-realized dream had not Indian counterparts provided connections between rural and urban centers. External threats, both real and imagined, such as the Napoleonic Wars (1796-1815) and Russian expansion toward Afghanistan (in the 1830s), as well as the desire for internal stability, led to the annexation of more territory in India. Political analysts in Britain wavered initially as they were uncertain of the costs or the advantages in undertaking wars in India, but by the 1810s, as the territorial aggrandizement eventually paid off, opinion in London welcomed the absorption of new areas. Occasionally the British Parliament witnessed heated debates against expansion, but arguments justifying military operations for security reasons always won over even the most vehement critics.

The British soon forgot their own rivalry with the Portuguese and the French and permitted them to stay in their coastal enclaves, which they kept even after independence in 1947. The British, however, continued to expand vigorously well into the 1850s. A number of aggressive governors-general undertook relentless campaigns against several Hindu and Muslim rulers. Among them were Richard Colley Wellesley (1798-1805), William Pitt Amherst (1823-28), George Eden (1836-42), Edward Law (1842-44), and James Andrew Brown Ramsay (1848-56; also known as the Marquess of Dalhousie). Despite desperate efforts at salvaging their tottering power and keeping the British at bay, many Hindu and Muslim rulers lost their territories: Mysore (1799, but later restored), the Maratha Confederacy (1818), and Punjab (1849). The British success in large measure was the result not only of their superiority in tactics and weapons but also of their ingenious relations with Indian rulers through the "subsidiary alliance" system, introduced in the early nineteenth century. Many rulers bartered away their real responsibilities by agreeing to uphold British paramountcy in India, while they retained a fictional sovereignty under the rubric of Pax Britannica. Later, Dalhousie espoused the "doctrine of lapse" and annexed outright the estates of deceased princes of Satara (1848), Udaipur (1852), Jhansi (1853), Tanjore (1853), Nagpur (1854), and Oudh (1856).

European perceptions of India, and those of the British especially, shifted from unequivocal appreciation to sweeping condemnation of India's past achievements and customs. Imbued with an ethnocentric sense of superiority, British intellectuals, including Christian missionaries, spearheaded a movement that sought to bring Western intellectual and technological innovations to Indians. Interpretations of the causes of India's cultural and spiritual "backwardness" varied, as did the solutions. Many argued that it was Europe's mission to civilize India and hold it as a trust until Indians proved themselves competent for self-rule.

The immediate consequence of this sense of superiority was to open India to more aggressive missionary activity. The contributions of three missionaries based in Serampore (a Danish enclave in Bengal)--William Carey, Joshua Marshman, and William Ward--remained unequaled and have provided inspiration for future generations of their successors. The missionaries translated the Bible into the vernaculars, taught company officials local languages, and, after 1813, gained permission to proselytize in the company's territories. Although the actual number of converts remained negligible, except in rare instances when entire groups embraced Christianity, such as the Nayars in the south or the Nagas in the northeast, the missionary impact on India through publishing, schools, orphanages, vocational institutions, dispensaries, and hospitals was unmistakable.

The British Parliament enacted a series of laws, among which the Regulating Act of 1773 stood first, to curb the company traders' unrestrained commercial activities and to bring about some order in territories under company control. Limiting the company charter to periods of twenty years, subject to review upon renewal, the 1773 act gave the British government supervisory rights over the Bengal, Bombay, and Madras presidencies. Bengal was given preeminence over the rest because of its enormous commercial vitality and because it was the seat of British power in India (at Calcutta), whose governor was elevated to the new position of governor-general. Warren Hastings was the first incumbent (1773-85). The India Act of 1784, sometimes described as the "half-loaf system," as it sought to mediate between Parliament and the company directors, enhanced Parliament's control by establishing the Board of Control, whose members were selected from the cabinet. The Charter Act of 1813 recognized British moral responsibility by introducing just and humane laws in India, foreshadowing future social legislation, and outlawing a number of traditional practices such as sati and thagi (or thugee, robbery coupled with ritual murder).

As governor-general from 1786 to 1793, Charles Cornwallis (the Marquis of Cornwallis), professionalized, bureaucratized, and Europeanized the company's administration. He also outlawed private trade by company employees, separated the commercial and administrative functions, and remunerated company servants with generous graduated salaries. Because revenue collection became the company's most essential administrative function, Cornwallis made a compact with Bengali zamindars, who were perceived as the Indian counterparts to the British landed gentry. The Permanent Settlement system, also known as the zamindari system, fixed taxes in perpetuity in return for ownership of large estates; but the state was excluded from agricultural expansion, which came under the purview of the zamindars. In Madras and Bombay, however, the ryotwari (peasant) settlement system was set in motion, in which peasant cultivators had to pay annual taxes directly to the government.

Neither the zamindari nor the ryotwari systems proved effective in the long run because India was integrated into an international economic and pricing system over which it had no control, while increasing numbers of people subsisted on agriculture for lack of other employment. Millions of people involved in the heavily taxed Indian textile industry also lost their markets, as they were unable to compete successfully with cheaper textiles produced in Lancashire's mills from Indian raw materials.

Beginning with the Mayor's Court, established in 1727 for civil litigation in Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, justice in the interior came under the company's jurisdiction. In 1772 an elaborate judicial system, known as adalat , established civil and criminal jurisdictions along with a complex set of codes or rules of procedure and evidence. Both Hindu pandits and Muslim qazis (sharia court judges) were recruited to aid the presiding judges in interpreting their customary laws, but in other instances, British common and statutory laws became applicable. In extraordinary situations where none of these systems was applicable, the judges were enjoined to adjudicate on the basis of "justice, equity, and good conscience." The legal profession provided numerous opportunities for educated and talented Indians who were unable to secure positions in the company, and, as a result, Indian lawyers later dominated nationalist politics and reform movements.

Education for the most part was left to the charge of Indians or to private agents who imparted instruction in the vernaculars. But in 1813, the British became convinced of their "duty" to awaken the Indians from intellectual slumber by exposing them to British literary traditions, earmarking a paltry sum for the cause. Controversy between two groups of Europeans--the "Orientalists" and "Anglicists"--over how the money was to be spent prevented them from formulating any consistent policy until 1835 when William Cavendish Bentinck, the governor-general from 1828 to 1835, finally broke the impasse by resolving to introduce the English language as the medium of instruction. English replaced Persian in public administration and education.

The company's education policies in the 1830s tended to reinforce existing lines of socioeconomic division in society rather than bringing general liberation from ignorance and superstition. Whereas the Hindu English-educated minority spearheaded many social and religious reforms either in direct response to government policies or in reaction to them, Muslims as a group initially failed to do so, a position they endeavored to reverse. Western-educated Hindu elites sought to rid Hinduism of its much criticized social evils: idolatry, the caste system, child marriage, and sati. Religious and social activist Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833), who founded the Brahmo Samaj (Society of Brahma) in 1828, displayed a readiness to synthesize themes taken from Christianity, Deism, and Indian monism, while other individuals in Bombay and Madras initiated literary and debating societies that gave them a forum for open discourse. The exemplary educational attainments and skillful use of the press by these early reformers enhanced the possibility of effecting broad reforms without compromising societal values or religious practices.

The 1850s witnessed the introduction of the three "engines of social improvement" that heightened the British illusion of permanence in India. They were the railroads, the telegraph, and the uniform postal service, inaugurated during the tenure of Dalhousie as governor-general. The first railroad lines were built in 1850 from Howrah (Haora, across the Hughli River from Calcutta) inland to the coalfields at Raniganj, Bihar, a distance of 240 kilometers. In 1851 the first electric telegraph line was laid in Bengal and soon linked Agra, Bombay, Calcutta, Lahore, Varanasi, and other cities. The three different presidency or regional postal systems merged in 1854 to facilitate uniform methods of communication at an all-India level. With uniform postal rates for letters and newspapers--one-half anna and one anna, respectively (sixteen annas equalled one rupee)--communication between the rural and the metropolitan areas became easier and faster. The increased ease of communication and the opening of highways and waterways accelerated the movement of troops, the transportation of raw materials and goods to and from the interior, and the exchange of commercial information.

The railroads did not break down the social or cultural distances between various groups but tended to create new categories in travel. Separate compartments in the trains were reserved exclusively for the ruling class, separating the educated and wealthy from ordinary people. Similarly, when the Sepoy Rebellion was quelled in 1858, a British official exclaimed that "the telegraph saved India." He envisaged, of course, that British interests in India would continue indefinitely.

The Constitution provides for secular government and the protection of religious freedom, and the central Government generally respected these provisions in practice; however, it sometimes did not act effectively to counter societal attacks against religious minorities and attempts by state and local governments to limit religious freedom. This failure resulted, among other reasons, from the legal constraints inherent in the country's federal structure and from the inadequacies in law enforcement and justice systems. The ineffective investigation and prosecution of attacks on religious minorities was interpreted by some extremist elements as a signal that such violence likely would go unpunished. Tension between Muslims and Hindus, and between Hindus and Christians, continued to pose a challenge to the secular foundation of the State.

Although the law provides for religious freedom, enforcement of the law was poor, particularly at the state and local levels, where the failure to deal adequately with intragroup and intergroup conflict abridged constitutional protections.

The leading party in the government coalition is the BJP, a Hindu nationalist political party with links to Hindu extremist groups that were implicated in violent acts against Christians and Muslims. The BJP also leads state governments in Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Arunachal Pradesh. In Orissa, the BJP rules in coalition with the Biju Janapa Dal. Many BJP leaders and party workers were members of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), an organization based on Hindu nationalism, and share some of its ideology. The RSS espouses a return to what it considers Hindu values and cultural norms. However, the BJP is an independent political party, and the degree of RSS influence over its policy making was not clear.

There were reports that members of the BJP, the RSS, and other affiliated organizations harassed and at times threatened the use of violence against Christians and Muslims. The BJP and RSS officially expressed respect and tolerance for other religions; however, the RSS in particular opposes conversions from Hinduism and believes that all citizens should adhere to Hindu cultural values. The BJP officially agrees that the caste system should be eliminated, but many of its members are ambivalent about this. The BJP's traditional cultural agenda includes calls for construction of a new Hindu temple in Ayodhya. The temple would replace an ancient Hindu temple believed to have stood on the site of a mosque in Ayodhya that a Hindu mob destroyed in 1992; for the repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special rights to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the country's only Muslim majority state; and for the enactment of a uniform civil code that would apply to members of all religions. In December, 5 persons were killed and 27 injured after Hindu-Muslim clashes broke out in Hyderabad. Tens of thousands of police were deployed in the area to prevent further attacks.

No registration is required for religions. Legally mandated benefits are assigned to certain groups, including some defined by their religion. For example, some states reserve jobs and educational enrollment slots for Muslims, who do not benefit from reservations designed to help lower-caste Hindus.

In May 2001, the Government banned Deendar Anjuman, a Muslim group whose members were arrested for a series of church bombings in Karnataka in 2000. During the year, the Government arrested and charged approximately 40 members of Deendar Anjuman implicated in the Karnataka bombing.

The Religious Institutions (Prevention of Misuse) Act makes it a criminal offense to use any religious site for political purposes or to use temples for harboring persons accused or convicted of crimes. While specifically designed to deal with Sikh places of worship in Punjab, the law applies to all religious sites. The Religious Buildings and Places Act requires a state government-endorsed permit before construction of any religious building may commence. The Act's supporters claimed that its aim was to curb the use of Muslim institutions by Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups, but the measure became a controversial political issue among religious Muslims. In West Bengal, the law requires any person desiring to construct a place of worship to obtain permission from the district magistrate.

In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that Hindu activists could not perform a religious ceremony on the land surrounding the site of the demolished mosque in Ayodhya. During the year, tens of thousands of members of the VHP were arrested to prevent them from attempting to stage a rally on the land. Thousands of police and paramilitary troops were deployed in and around Ayodhya, and most Hindu militants were stopped from entering the town.

On January 10, the controversial Prohibition of Forcible Conversion of Religion Act that bans "forced" religious conversions was passed in the state of Tamil Nadu. In February, the "Freedom of Religion" Bill that provides penalties for conversion using allurement or force, including up to 3 years in prison and a fine of $1,000 (50,000 Rs), was passed in Gujarat. Conversions in Gujarat must be assessed by officials, and prior permission given by the District Magistrate. Human rights advocates believed that both laws make it more difficult for poor persons, mistreated minorities, and others ostracized under the caste system, to convert from Hinduism to another religion. Further, the Tamil Nadu law requires that persons involved in a conversion report it to the local magistrate within 10 days. Authorities in Tamil Nadu announced their intention to enforce the law as a deterrent to large-scale conversions. The Gujarat bill requires persons converting to have prior permission from the district authorities before conversion.

There is no national law that bars a citizen or foreigner from professing or propagating his or her religious beliefs; however, India's Foreigners Act strictly prohibits visitors who are in the country on tourist visas from engaging in religious preaching without first obtaining permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs. During the year, state officials continued to refuse to issue permits for foreign Christian missionaries, as well as other persons, to enter some northeastern states, on the grounds of political instability in the region. Missionaries and religious organizations must comply with the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), which restricts funding from abroad and, therefore, the ability of certain groups to finance their activities. The Government was empowered to ban a religious organization if it has violated the FCRA, has provoked intercommunity friction, or has been involved in terrorism or sedition.

The legal system accommodated minority religions' personal status laws; there were different personal laws for different religious communities. Religion-specific laws pertain in matters of marriage, divorce, adoption, and inheritance. For example, Muslim personal status law governed many non-criminal matters involving Muslims, including family law, inheritance, and divorce. The personal status laws of the religious communities sometimes discriminated against women.

Tensions between Muslims and Hindus, and between Hindus and Christians, continued during the year. Attacks on religious minorities decreased overall but occurred in several states, which brought into question the Government's ability to prevent sectarian and religious violence or prosecute those responsible for it. For example, on November 20 in Assam, communal violence broke out after Assamese youths prevented groups from neighboring Bihar, a poor, mostly Hindi-speaking state, from participating in recruitment exams at the state-owned railways. The Bihari youths retaliated by attacking trains bound for Assam and allegedly raping a girl. The Government deployed troops to patrol Assam in an attempt to quell outbreaks of violence. On November 21, a mosque was bombed in Parbhani, east of Mumbai. The attack took place during Friday prayers during Ramadan; at least seven persons were wounded. On the same day in Orissa, Hindu militants belonging to the VHP and Bajrang Dal torched a Catholic church. The attack followed several days of violence. On November 20, numerous unknown persons wearing saffron-—the symbol of Hindutva ideology-—burned Bibles in front of the district governor's residence and then broke into a church of a nearby village and raped a nun. There were no reports of any action taken against members of mobs who killed during the year.

Reports continued that Hindus received limited punishment for the 2002 Gujarat violence, while some Muslims complained of continued harassment and discrimination by the state government in Gujarat. In Gujarat, there continued to be credible evidence of prejudice in favor of Hindus and an unwritten policy of impunity against the perpetrators of 2002 religious violence. For example, the 70-page HRW July report noted that more than 1 hundred Muslims had been charged under the country's POTA for their alleged involvement in the 2002 train violence in Godhra. However, no Hindus had been charged under POTA in connection with the violence at year's end. Further, HRW reported "although the Indian government initially boasted of thousands of arrests following the [2002] attacks, most of those arrested have since been acquitted, released on bail with no further action taken, or simply let go. Police regularly downgrade serious charges to lesser crimes – from murder to rape to rioting, for example – and alter victims' statements to delete the names of the accused." Additionally, the report criticized the Gujarat state court, which in June, acquitted 21 persons accused of burning alive 12 Muslims in a bakery in Vadodara after 35 of the 73 witnesses retracted their statements. In September, the Supreme Court expressed its displeasure at the authorities in Gujarat for its handling of the "Best Bakery" case. Various human rights organizations have appealed to the Supreme Court to move certain cases outside the jurisdiction of Gujarat. The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear this matter starting in January 2004.

Some Christian groups also claimed that BJP officials at state and local levels became increasingly uncooperative. The Government also has been criticized for not attempting to restrain the country's radical Hindu groups.

Christian leaders noted a decrease in the incidents of violence against their community and also a change in the type of incidents; however, attacks against Christians continued. For example, in January, Hindu militants attacked missionary Joseph Cooper and several others in Kerala. Police arrested nine persons in that attack; however, no persons were charged at year's end. In a report on the attack, the human rights NGO "CHRO" quoted a Minister as saying that the request by local police to have Cooper leave the country "would send the right signal that the country will not be soft on foreigners who violate the laws of the land."

No action was taken against persons who attacked Christians or churches in 2002. Despite a reduction in physical attacks against Christians, Hindu nationalists continued an ideological campaign to limit access to Christian institutions and discourage or, in some cases, prohibit conversions to Christianity. There were no developments in the Sister Brishi Ekka case during the year. In 2002, a cable television station promoting Catholic values was launched in Kerala.

Citizens often referred to schools, hospitals, and other institutions as "missionary" even when they were owned and run entirely by indigenous Christian citizens. By using the adjective "missionary," the RSS tapped into a longstanding fear of foreign religious domination.

The trial of Dara Singh and his 12 associates for the 1999 murder of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons concluded during the year. On September 23, the court sentenced Dara Singh to death and his associates to life imprisonment. In October, Singh appealed his sentence to the Orissa High Court.

In Christian majority areas, Christians sometimes were the oppressors. In Tripura, there were several cases of harassment of non-Christians by Christian members of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), a militant tribal group with an evangelical bent. For example, NLFT tribal insurgents have prohibited Hindu and Muslim festivals in areas that they control, cautioned women not to wear traditional Hindu tribal attire, and prohibited indigenous forms of worship. In Assam, the issue of Bangladeshi migrants (who generally were Muslim) has become very sensitive among the Assamese (predominantly Hindu) population, which considers its majority position to be in jeopardy.

Hindus have also been victims of violence. For example, on May 2, Muslim extremists reportedly attacked Hindu fishermen. Nine persons and 16 others were injured. The NHRC demanded a report from the state government on this incident. On August 26, 2 bomb attacks near the Gateway to India monument and the Hindu Temple of Mumbadevi killed 44 persons. The Government responded quickly to dispel further violence. The government arrested four Muslims and charged them in the attack. In their statements to police, the bombers identified their intent to retaliate against Hindus for 2002 anti-Muslim rioting in Gujarat.

Unlike in previous years, the exodus of many from the Sikh community did not occur.

The degree to which the BJP's nationalist Hindu agenda impacted religious minorities varied depending on the region. In some states, governments made efforts to reaffirm their commitment to secularism. In others, mainly in the south, religious groups alleged that since the BJP's rise to power in the national Government, some government bureaucrats began to enforce laws selectively to the detriment of religious minorities. For example, this revivalist campaign included the "Hinduization" of education, including the revision of history books to include hate propaganda against Islamic and Christian communities. The situation in the east varied. For example, the Orissa Freedom of Religion Act contains a provision requiring a monthly government report on the number of conversions and requiring a police inquiry into conversions, but this provision was not enforced.

CRIMINAL CODES

Under the constitution, criminal jurisdiction belongs concurrently to the central government and the states. The prevailing law on crime prevention and punishment is embodied in two principal statutes: the Indian Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973. These laws take precedence over any state legislation, and the states cannot alter or amend them. Separate legislation enacted by both the states and the central government also has established criminal liability for acts such as smuggling, illegal use of arms and ammunition, and corruption. All legislation, however, remains subordinate to the constitution.

The Indian Penal Code came into force in 1862; as amended, it continued in force in 1993. Based on British criminal law, the code defines basic crimes and punishments, applies to resident foreigners and citizens alike, and recognizes offenses committed abroad by Indian nationals.

The penal code classifies crimes under various categories: crimes against the state, the armed forces, public order, the human body, and property; and crimes relating to elections, religion, marriage, and health, safety, decency, and morals. Crimes are cognizable or noncognizable, comparable to the distinction between felonies and misdemeanors in legal use in the United States. Six categories of punishment include fines, forfeiture of property, simple imprisonment, rigorous imprisonment with hard labor, life imprisonment, and death. An individual can be imprisoned for failure to pay fines, and up to three months' solitary confinement can occur during rare rigorous imprisonment sentences. Commutation is possible for death and life sentences.

A multiplicity of motives underlay the British penetration into India: commerce, security, and a purported moral uplift of the people. The "expansive force" of private and company trade eventually led to the conquest or annexation of territories in which spices, cotton, and opium were produced. British investors ventured into the unfamiliar interior landscape in search of opportunities that promised substantial profits. British economic penetration was aided by Indian collaborators, such as the bankers and merchants who controlled intricate credit networks. British rule in India would have been a frustrated or half-realized dream had not Indian counterparts provided connections between rural and urban centers. External threats, both real and imagined, such as the Napoleonic Wars (1796-1815) and Russian expansion toward Afghanistan (in the 1830s), as well as the desire for internal stability, led to the annexation of more territory in India. Political analysts in Britain wavered initially as they were uncertain of the costs or the advantages in undertaking wars in India, but by the 1810s, as the territorial aggrandizement eventually paid off, opinion in London welcomed the absorption of new areas. Occasionally the British Parliament witnessed heated debates against expansion, but arguments justifying military operations for security reasons always won over even the most vehement critics.

The British soon forgot their own rivalry with the Portuguese and the French and permitted them to stay in their coastal enclaves, which they kept even after independence in 1947. The British, however, continued to expand vigorously well into the 1850s. A number of aggressive governors-general undertook relentless campaigns against several Hindu and Muslim rulers. Among them were Richard Colley Wellesley (1798-1805), William Pitt Amherst (1823-28), George Eden (1836-42), Edward Law (1842-44), and James Andrew Brown Ramsay (1848-56; also known as the Marquess of Dalhousie). Despite desperate efforts at salvaging their tottering power and keeping the British at bay, many Hindu and Muslim rulers lost their territories: Mysore (1799, but later restored), the Maratha Confederacy (1818), and Punjab (1849). The British success in large measure was the result not only of their superiority in tactics and weapons but also of their ingenious relations with Indian rulers through the "subsidiary alliance" system, introduced in the early nineteenth century. Many rulers bartered away their real responsibilities by agreeing to uphold British paramountcy in India, while they retained a fictional sovereignty under the rubric of Pax Britannica. Later, Dalhousie espoused the "doctrine of lapse" and annexed outright the estates of deceased princes of Satara (1848), Udaipur (1852), Jhansi (1853), Tanjore (1853), Nagpur (1854), and Oudh (1856).

European perceptions of India, and those of the British especially, shifted from unequivocal appreciation to sweeping condemnation of India's past achievements and customs. Imbued with an ethnocentric sense of superiority, British intellectuals, including Christian missionaries, spearheaded a movement that sought to bring Western intellectual and technological innovations to Indians. Interpretations of the causes of India's cultural and spiritual "backwardness" varied, as did the solutions. Many argued that it was Europe's mission to civilize India and hold it as a trust until Indians proved themselves competent for self-rule.

The immediate consequence of this sense of superiority was to open India to more aggressive missionary activity. The contributions of three missionaries based in Serampore (a Danish enclave in Bengal)--William Carey, Joshua Marshman, and William Ward--remained unequaled and have provided inspiration for future generations of their successors. The missionaries translated the Bible into the vernaculars, taught company officials local languages, and, after 1813, gained permission to proselytize in the company's territories. Although the actual number of converts remained negligible, except in rare instances when entire groups embraced Christianity, such as the Nayars in the south or the Nagas in the northeast, the missionary impact on India through publishing, schools, orphanages, vocational institutions, dispensaries, and hospitals was unmistakable.

The British Parliament enacted a series of laws, among which the Regulating Act of 1773 stood first, to curb the company traders' unrestrained commercial activities and to bring about some order in territories under company control. Limiting the company charter to periods of twenty years, subject to review upon renewal, the 1773 act gave the British government supervisory rights over the Bengal, Bombay, and Madras presidencies. Bengal was given preeminence over the rest because of its enormous commercial vitality and because it was the seat of British power in India (at Calcutta), whose governor was elevated to the new position of governor-general. Warren Hastings was the first incumbent (1773-85). The India Act of 1784, sometimes described as the "half-loaf system," as it sought to mediate between Parliament and the company directors, enhanced Parliament's control by establishing the Board of Control, whose members were selected from the cabinet. The Charter Act of 1813 recognized British moral responsibility by introducing just and humane laws in India, foreshadowing future social legislation, and outlawing a number of traditional practices such as sati and thagi (or thugee, robbery coupled with ritual murder).

As governor-general from 1786 to 1793, Charles Cornwallis (the Marquis of Cornwallis), professionalized, bureaucratized, and Europeanized the company's administration. He also outlawed private trade by company employees, separated the commercial and administrative functions, and remunerated company servants with generous graduated salaries. Because revenue collection became the company's most essential administrative function, Cornwallis made a compact with Bengali zamindars, who were perceived as the Indian counterparts to the British landed gentry. The Permanent Settlement system, also known as the zamindari system, fixed taxes in perpetuity in return for ownership of large estates; but the state was excluded from agricultural expansion, which came under the purview of the zamindars. In Madras and Bombay, however, the ryotwari (peasant) settlement system was set in motion, in which peasant cultivators had to pay annual taxes directly to the government.

Neither the zamindari nor the ryotwari systems proved effective in the long run because India was integrated into an international economic and pricing system over which it had no control, while increasing numbers of people subsisted on agriculture for lack of other employment. Millions of people involved in the heavily taxed Indian textile industry also lost their markets, as they were unable to compete successfully with cheaper textiles produced in Lancashire's mills from Indian raw materials.

Beginning with the Mayor's Court, established in 1727 for civil litigation in Bombay, Calcutta, and Madras, justice in the interior came under the company's jurisdiction. In 1772 an elaborate judicial system, known as adalat , established civil and criminal jurisdictions along with a complex set of codes or rules of procedure and evidence. Both Hindu pandits and Muslim qazis (sharia court judges) were recruited to aid the presiding judges in interpreting their customary laws, but in other instances, British common and statutory laws became applicable. In extraordinary situations where none of these systems was applicable, the judges were enjoined to adjudicate on the basis of "justice, equity, and good conscience." The legal profession provided numerous opportunities for educated and talented Indians who were unable to secure positions in the company, and, as a result, Indian lawyers later dominated nationalist politics and reform movements.

Education for the most part was left to the charge of Indians or to private agents who imparted instruction in the vernaculars. But in 1813, the British became convinced of their "duty" to awaken the Indians from intellectual slumber by exposing them to British literary traditions, earmarking a paltry sum for the cause. Controversy between two groups of Europeans--the "Orientalists" and "Anglicists"--over how the money was to be spent prevented them from formulating any consistent policy until 1835 when William Cavendish Bentinck, the governor-general from 1828 to 1835, finally broke the impasse by resolving to introduce the English language as the medium of instruction. English replaced Persian in public administration and education.

The company's education policies in the 1830s tended to reinforce existing lines of socioeconomic division in society rather than bringing general liberation from ignorance and superstition. Whereas the Hindu English-educated minority spearheaded many social and religious reforms either in direct response to government policies or in reaction to them, Muslims as a group initially failed to do so, a position they endeavored to reverse. Western-educated Hindu elites sought to rid Hinduism of its much criticized social evils: idolatry, the caste system, child marriage, and sati. Religious and social activist Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833), who founded the Brahmo Samaj (Society of Brahma) in 1828, displayed a readiness to synthesize themes taken from Christianity, Deism, and Indian monism, while other individuals in Bombay and Madras initiated literary and debating societies that gave them a forum for open discourse. The exemplary educational attainments and skillful use of the press by these early reformers enhanced the possibility of effecting broad reforms without compromising societal values or religious practices.

The 1850s witnessed the introduction of the three "engines of social improvement" that heightened the British illusion of permanence in India. They were the railroads, the telegraph, and the uniform postal service, inaugurated during the tenure of Dalhousie as governor-general. The first railroad lines were built in 1850 from Howrah (Haora, across the Hughli River from Calcutta) inland to the coalfields at Raniganj, Bihar, a distance of 240 kilometers. In 1851 the first electric telegraph line was laid in Bengal and soon linked Agra, Bombay, Calcutta, Lahore, Varanasi, and other cities. The three different presidency or regional postal systems merged in 1854 to facilitate uniform methods of communication at an all-India level. With uniform postal rates for letters and newspapers--one-half anna and one anna, respectively (sixteen annas equalled one rupee)--communication between the rural and the metropolitan areas became easier and faster. The increased ease of communication and the opening of highways and waterways accelerated the movement of troops, the transportation of raw materials and goods to and from the interior, and the exchange of commercial information.

The railroads did not break down the social or cultural distances between various groups but tended to create new categories in travel. Separate compartments in the trains were reserved exclusively for the ruling class, separating the educated and wealthy from ordinary people. Similarly, when the Sepoy Rebellion was quelled in 1858, a British official exclaimed that "the telegraph saved India." He envisaged, of course, that British interests in India would continue indefinitely.

INCIDENCE OF CRIME

The crime rate in India is low compared to more industrialized countries. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. In the UN reports, murders are referred to as "intentional homicides." Aggravated assaults are referred to as "major assaults," and larcenies are referred to as "thefts." According to the United Nations Seventh Annual Survey on Crime, crime recorded in police statistics shows the crime rate for the combined total of all Index crimes in India to be 76.42 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1999. This compares with 1736.99 for Japan (country with a low crime rate) and 4184.24 for USA (country with high crime rate). For intentional homicides, the rate in 1999 was 3.72 for India, 0.53 for Japan, and 4.55 for USA. For major assaults, the rate in 1999 was 23.92 for India, compared with 21.91 for Japan, and 329.63 for USA. (Note these data for Japan and India are for total recorded assaults, since neither Japan nor India reported a figure for major assaults.) For rapes, the rate in 1999 was 1.55 for India, 1.46 for Japan, and 32.05 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 1999 was 2.85 for India, 3.34 for Japan, and 147.36 for USA. For automobile theft, the rate in 1999 was 5.98 for India, 225.25 for Japan, and 412.70 for USA. The rate for burglary for 1999 was 11.15 for India, 205.50 for Japan, and 755.29 for USA. The rate for thefts in 1999 was 27.25 for India, compared with 1279.00 for Japan and 2502.66 for USA.

TRENDS IN CRIME

Between 1995 (Sixth Annual Survey) and 1999 (Seventh Annual Survey) the rate for all recorded Index offenses decreased from 74.96 to 76.18 per 100,000 in India, an decrease of 16% (note that no data were reported for motor vehicle theft in 1995). The rate of intentional homicide decreased from 4.03 to 3.72, a decrease of 7.7%. The rate of rape increased from 1.48 to 1.55, an increase of 4.7%. The rate for robbery decreased from 3.31 to 2.85 per 100,000, a decrease of 13.9%. The rate for burglary decreased from 12.54 to 11.15, a decrease of 11.1%. Thefts decreased from 31.67 to 27.25, a decrease of 14%.

LEGAL SYSTEM

The criminal justice system descends from the British model. The judiciary and the bar are independent although efforts have been made by some politicians to undermine the autonomy of the judiciary. From about the time of India Gandhi's tenure as prime minister, the executive has treated judicial authorities in an arbitrary fashion. Judges who handed down decisions that challenged the regime in office have on occasion been passed over for promotion, for example. Furthermore, unpopular judges have been given less-than-desirable assignments. Because the pay and perquisites of the judiciary have not kept up with salaries and benefits in the private sector, fewer able members of the legal profession have entered the ranks of the senior judiciary.

Despite the decline in the caliber and probity of the judiciary, established procedures for the protection of defendants, except in the case of strife-torn areas, are routinely observed. The penal philosophy embraces the ideals of preventing crime and rehabilitating criminals.

Executions are by hanging and are rare--there were only three in 1993 and two in 1994--and are usually reserved for crimes such as political assassination and multiple murders. Courts of law try cases under procedures that resemble the Anglo-American pattern. The machinery for prevention and punishment through the criminal court system rests on the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973, which came into force on April 1, 1974, replacing a code dating from 1898. The code includes provisions to expedite the judicial process, increase efficiency, prevent abuses, and provide legal relief to the poor. The basic framework of the criminal justice system, however, was left unchanged.

Constitutional guarantees protect the accused, as do various provisions embodied in the 1973 code. Treatment of those arrested under special security legislation can depart from these norms, however. In addition, for all practical purposes, the implementation of these norms varies widely based on the class and social background of the accused. In most cases, police officers have to secure a warrant from a magistrate before instituting searches and seizing evidence. Individuals taken into custody have to be advised of the charges brought against them, have the right to seek counsel, and have to appear before a magistrate within twenty-four hours of arrest. The magistrate has the option to release the accused on bail. During trial a defendant is protected against self-incrimination, and only confessions given before a magistrate are legally valid. Criminal cases usually take place in open trial, although in limited circumstances closed trials occur. Procedures exist for appeal to higher courts.

India has an integrated and relatively independent court system. At the apex is the Supreme Court, which has original, appellate, and advisory jurisdiction. Below it are eighteen high courts that preside over the states and union territories. The high courts have supervisory authority over all subordinate courts within their jurisdictions. In general, these include several district courts headed by district magistrates, who in turn have several subordinate magistrates under their supervision. The Code of Criminal Procedure established three sets of magistrates for the subordinate criminal courts. The first consists of executive magistrates, whose duties include issuing warrants, advising the police, and determining proper procedures to deal with public violence. The second consists of judicial magistrates, who are essentially trial judges. Petty criminal cases are sometimes settled in panchayat

POLICE

The army has four major roles or functions in the maintenance of public order and internal security. One is to defend India's territorial integrity and to maintain the inviolability of its borders. Another involves dealing with internal security threats stemming from secessionist demands and externally supported insurgencies. The army also is called upon to assist civilian authorities in maintaining civil order when local police forces and the paramilitary prove inadequate to the task. Finally, the army can also be mobilized to deal with natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods, the only domestic function that the army performs with enthusiasm.

Despite the existence of numerous paramilitary forces, the army has had to quell outbreaks of civil violence, primarily in the states of Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, and Punjab. By the early 1990s, army involvement in Assam and Punjab had diminished significantly as insurgencies waned. However, the role of the army in Jammu and Kashmir expanded substantially as both police and paramilitary forces failed to maintain law and order.

In 1993 upper-echelon army officers warned that excessive use of the army to restore civil order might have a number of corrosive effects. First, it might damage the morale of troops who might be distressed at having to shoot civilians. Second, it might have the effect of politicizing the army. The outgoing chief of army staff, General Sunith Francis Rodrigues, publicly articulated his misgivings on this subject. Furthermore, in June 1993, Rodrigues presented a report entitled "Maximizing Effectiveness of Central Police Organizations" to the Committee of Secretaries (composed of a "core group", the secretaries of defence, finance, and home affair, chaired by the cabinet secretary, and meeting on a weekly basis). The report called for the army to take over the training of paramilitary forces.

Although the 28 state governments have primary responsibility for maintaining law and order, the central Government provides guidance and support through the use of paramilitary forces throughout the country. The Union Ministry for Home Affairs controls most of the paramilitary forces, the internal intelligence bureaus, and the nationwide police service; it provides training for senior police officers of the state-organized police forces. The armed forces are under civilian control. Members of the security forces committed numerous serious human rights abuses; however, some officers from the security forces were held accountable for their actions during the year.

Arbitrary and unlawful deprivations of life by government forces (including deaths in custody and faked "encounter" killings) continued to occur frequently in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and in several northeastern states, where separatist insurgencies continued. Security forces offered bounties for wanted militants. Extrajudicial killings of criminals and suspected criminals by police or prison officers also occurred in a number of states. Militant groups active in Jammu and Kashmir, several northeast states, and parts of Andhra Pradesh, killed members of rival factions, government security forces, government officials, and civilians.

There were significantly fewer attacks by militants in Jammu and Kashmir during the year; however, it continued at the level of the late 1990s, according to the Home Ministry (Kashmir has been at the center of a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan since the two nations gained their independence in 1947; both claim Kashmir.) In Jammu and Kashmir, according to the Home Ministry, security forces killed 1,526 militants during the year, compared with 1,747 militants killed during the same period in 2002. In addition, human rights groups alleged that during the year security forces killed a number of captured non-Kashmiri militants in Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmiri separatist groups claimed that in many instances "encounters" were faked and that security forces summarily executed suspected militants and civilians offering no resistance. Human rights activists alleged that the security forces were under instructions to kill foreign militants, rather than attempt to capture them alive, in the case of security encounters with non-Kashmiri terrorists who infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir illegally.

According to press reports and anecdotal accounts, persons killed in disputed encounters typically were detained by security forces, and their bodies, often bearing multiple bullet wounds and marks of torture, were returned to relatives or otherwise were discovered shortly afterwards. For example, in May, Mohammed Ashraf Malik was taken into custody by the Rashtriya Rifles (RR) allegedly for assisting the guerrillas. Several days later, the RR unit advised Malik's family to collect his remains from the forest, claiming that he had stepped on a landmine. By year's end, an inquiry had been ordered in this case.

There reportedly was no action taken against members of the security forces responsible for the following killings in Jammu and Kashmir: The January 2002 "encounter" killing of Ali Muhammad Bhat, and the March 2002 alleged custody killing of Mubarak Shah in Dushar Gool.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) asked the Uttar Pradesh government to pay $10,000 (500,000 Rs) to the family of Dr. Sonali Bose, a graduate student shot by the police in July 2002 in an alleged case of mistaken identity.

The Jammu and Kashmir state government took numerous initiatives to hold violators of human rights accountable. In June, the Government announced that 118 of the security forces had been punished for having committed human rights violations, including 44 Border Security Force (BSF) members, 47 from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), and 27 police officers. A Senior Superintendent of Police was suspended by the Jammu and Kashmir government for allegedly falsifying the DNA samples of five civilians killed in fake encounters in Chattisingpora, Anantnag District in March 2000; he was appealing his case at year's end. A ministerial subcommittee headed by the Deputy Chief Minister had recommended severe punishment for three police officers and two doctors for tampering with the evidence.

According to local press reports, the number of persons killed in encounter deaths varied widely throughout the country. In March, the Home Ministry reported that there were 116 complaints of alleged encounter deaths in 2000-2001, and 92 complaints of alleged encounter deaths from 2002 until year's end. In 2002, the NHRC called for all alleged encounter deaths to be investigated immediately and asked state governments to compensate the families of the victims. The NHRC's call in 2002 for all alleged encounter deaths to be investigated immediately was not heeded, and no such body was formed during the year. The NHRC issued instructions to all state governments to take appropriate preventive measures and recommended that compensation of $22,000 (1,600,000 Rs) be paid to the families of persons killed in such cases from 1993 until year's end. In most cases reported during the year; however, $7,350 (500,000 Rs) was the amount awarded.

In addition, the NHRC issued guidelines to state governments with the goal of helping to prevent encounter deaths. However, members of the security forces rarely were held accountable for these killings. The NHRC may ask for a report from a state government, but does not have the statutory power to investigate such allegations. Human rights activists maintained that the Government increasingly substituted financial compensation to victims' families for punishment of those found guilty of illegal conduct. In some cases, victims or victims' families distrusted the military judicial system and petitioned to transfer a particular case from a military to a civil court. The authorities generally did not report encounter deaths that occurred in Jammu and Kashmir to the NHRC.

The security forces also killed many civilians during military counterinsurgency operations in Jammu and Kashmir. A December Amnesty International (AI) paper indicated that security forces had reportedly killed over 250 civilians during the year. According to the Home Ministry, security forces killed 28 civilians from April 1 until June 30, and the NHRC recommended payment of compensation in 11 of these cases.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act and the Disturbed Areas Act remained in effect in several states in which active secessionist movements exist, namely, in Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, and parts of Tripura. The Disturbed Areas Act gives police extraordinary powers of arrest and detention, which, according to human rights groups, allowed security forces to operate with virtual impunity in areas under the act. The Armed Forces Special Powers Act provides search and arrest powers without warrants.

Accountability remained a serious problem in Jammu and Kashmir. Security forces committed thousands of serious human rights violations over the course of the 14-year conflict, including extrajudicial killings, disappearances, and torture. Despite this record of abuse, only a few hundred members of the security forces have been prosecuted and punished since 1990 for human rights violations or other crimes. Punishments ranged from reduction in rank to imprisonment for up to 10 years. In a December letter to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, AI wrote "the state government needs to be seen to make the security forces more accountable for their actions."

Violence, often resulting in deaths, was a pervasive element in Jammu and Kashmir politics. According to the Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police, shootings, explosions, and suicide attacks killed more than 2,714 persons during the year. More than 836 civilians, 384 security personnel, and 1,494 militants were killed in politically motivated violence during the year. Supporters of different political parties, and supporters of different factions within one party, frequently clashed with each other and with police during the election.

Country-wide, there were allegations that military and paramilitary forces engaged in abduction, torture, rape, arbitrary detention, and the extrajudicial killing of militants and noncombatant civilians, particularly in areas of insurgencies. Human rights groups alleged that police often faked encounters to cover up the torture and subsequent killing of both militants and noncombatants.

The number of persons killed and injured in militant violence in the northeastern states was significant but was much lower than the numbers killed in similar violence in Jammu and Kashmir. The Home Ministry reported that during the first half of the year, more than 738 militant attacks occurred in the Northeastern states resulting in 503 casualties and 437 kidnappings, while 271 militants surrendered. Numerous incidents of encounters involving security forces and militant organizations such as the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), and the United People's Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) continued.

The trial in the case of People's War Group (PWG) guerrillas charged with the 2001 killing of human rights activist Purushotham was ongoing at year's end. During the year, the trial in the case of persons charged with the 2001 killing of human rights activist Azam Ali was concluded, and the defendants were found not guilty.

As evidence that encounters often were faked by police, human rights groups cited the refusal of police officials to turn over the bodies of suspects killed. The bodies often were cremated before families could view them. In July, the NHRC reported that an encounter death occurred after the Andhra Pradesh police detained two suspected PWC members. No further action was taken by year's end.

During the year, in Andhra Pradesh, the Disturbed Areas Act was not in force. Human rights groups alleged that security forces were able to operate with virtual impunity under the act. They further alleged that Andhra Pradesh police officers trained and provided weapons to an armed vigilante group known as the "Green Tigers," whose mission was to combat the Naxalite group in the state. Little was known about the size, composition, or activities of this group.

Court action in cases of extrajudicial killings were widely criticized as slow and inconsistent. For example, there was no action taken, nor was any likely, for persons responsible for the 1996 killings of Jalil Andrabi and Parag Kumar Das.

Police frequently used excessive force indiscriminately against demonstrators, killing citizens.

Although the Supreme Court in July 2002 ordered regular checks on police stations to ascertain the incidence of custodial violence against persons, the government and local authorities failed to comply in the overwhelming majority of police stations throughout the country; however, the checks were conducted in a very small number of police stations in Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.

Deaths in custody were common both for suspected militants and other criminals. According to the NHRC, there were 1,305 reported deaths in custody nationwide during 2001, the latest year for which data were available. In December, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister reported that there were 8 custodial deaths in Jammu and Kashmir during the year, compared to 11 in 2001. Many died from natural causes aggravated by poor prison conditions.

There were reports of deaths in custody that resulted from alleged torture or other abuse. For example, in January, 28-year-old Ramesh died in police custody in Karnataka, allegedly after having been tortured. Human rights organizations questioned the legality and severity of the police actions. Two policemen were suspended but were not arrested or charged.

In June, the Jammu and Kashmir state government dismissed a deputy superintendent of police for his role in the 1999 custodial deaths of three persons.

The NHRC focused on torture and deaths in custody by directing district magistrates to report all deaths in police and judicial custody to the commission and stating that failure to do so would be interpreted as an attempted coverup. Magistrates appeared to be complying with this directive, although states varied in their adherence to NHRC directives on custodial deaths.

During the year, some state governments took some measures regarding custodial deaths. In May, the Jammu and Kashmir Human Rights Commission directed the central government to pay $10,000 (500,000 Rs) to the parents of Hilal Ahmed Nasti who died in custody. Following NHRC guidelines, the Government announced plans to address deficiencies in the prison system and establish a committee to draft a model prisons manual. The committee circulated its draft to all state governments/union territories for their input, but has not given a timeline for final publication.

In Bihar, the NHRC recorded 144 custodial deaths in its 2001-2002 reporting period. According to the NHRC, the Bihar government had not adequately responded to NHRC directives and reports addressing police training and accountability. However, the Bihar Inspector General of Prisons reportedly stated that of the 144 cases, only 15 were "unnatural deaths." Human rights sources claimed that the number was higher. The NHRC Chairperson stated that Bihar had the second highest number of human rights violations in the country, but it had not yet formed a State Human Rights Commission.

Killings and abductions of suspected militants and other persons by progovernment countermilitants continued to be a significant problem in Jammu and Kashmir. Countermilitants were members of police auxiliary units consisting of former separatists who surrendered to government forces, but who retained their weapons and paramilitary organization. Government agencies funded, exchanged intelligence with, and directed the operations of countermilitants as part of the counterinsurgency effort. Allegations of violations by the Special Operations Group (SOG), special anti-insurgency police units which in the past have operated outside the law, continued throughout the year. For example, on November 12, the SOG entered the home of Bashir Ahmad Sheikh, who was allegedly killed in an "encounter" in July, and beat his mother and sisters. In March, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Muhammed Sayeed told the Legislative Assembly that the SOG was disbanded; however, at year's end, there has been no sign that disbandment of the SOG had taken place. SOG members who earlier acted independently had been subordinated to regular police units. Fifty-three members of the SOG had been charged with human rights violations and 25 were removed from duty but have not been arrested or charged with any crime. In December, there were reports of protests in several districts in Jammu and Kashmir after former SOG members were appointed to positions in the uniformed police. Countermilitants searched persons at roadblocks and guarded large areas of the Kashmir Valley. The Government, through its sponsoring and condoning of extrajudicial countermilitant activities, was responsible for killings, abductions, and other abuses committed by these groups. According to journalists in Srinagar, as many as 1,200 countermilitants continued to operate in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly in the countryside.

In the seven northeastern states, insurgency and ethnic violence was a problem. The main insurgent groups in the northeast included two factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) in Nagaland; Meitei extremists in Manipur; the ULFA and the Bodo security forces in Assam; and the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) and the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) in Tripura. The proclaimed objective of many of these groups was secession. Their stated grievances against the Government ranged from charges of neglect and indifference to the widespread poverty of the region and to allegations of active discrimination against the tribal and nontribal people of the region by the central Government. During the year, talks continued between various insurgent groups and central and state government officials. In January, the Government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland Isaac and Muivah (NSCN-IM) continued talks extending the unilateral August 2001 cease-fire. In February, the Assamese government, the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) and the Government signed a tripartite agreement to create the Bodoland Territorial Council, an autonomous self-governing body. Further talks were held in December between NSCN-IM leaders and the Government to discuss integration of Northeastern states into "greater Nagaland."

Surrenders by militants in the northeast, often under government incentive programs, continued during the year. Surrendered militants usually were given a resettlement and retraining allowance and other assistance. According to human rights activists and journalists, a few surrendered militants were allowed to retain their weapons and were working for the police as anti-PWG officers, residing in police camps and barracks. Human rights groups alleged that police used former militants to kill Naxalites and human rights activists with close links to the PWG, although police attributed such killings to internal feuds within the PWG. Several hundred PWG militants surrendered during the year. In February, the Home Ministry held several rounds of talks with the state government of Andhra Pradesh and a representative of the PWG Group. In June 2002, the group withdrew from those talks following a police encounter.

In Tripura, the systematic surrender of arms by a faction of NLFT insurgents and NLFT fringe groups continued, due to the increased security pressure and to infighting within NLFT insurgent ranks.

The killings of ULFA leaders' family members by unknown persons during the year renewed concerns about the situation in Assam. For example, In January 2002, unidentified assailants shot and killed three relatives of two ULFA militants, including two relatives of ULFA deputy commander in chief Raju Baruah. More than 87,000 persons lived under poor conditions in relief camps in Assam as a result of the ongoing violence.

Militant groups continued to attack civilians. For example, in August unknown persons killed 52 persons by detonation of a car bomb in Bombay.

In Manipur 15 civilians, 34 militants and 15 security force personnel were killed in clashes with the militants during the year. In January, one child was killed and one person was injured when the border security forces allegedly fired into a home. In July, two security force members were killed and Chief Minister O. Ibibi Singh was shot allegedly by the People's Liberation Army in Manipur. Nobody was arrested in connection with this incident. In Manipur, 18 militant groups reportedly were active, including outlawed Meitei organizations.

In Tripura, the Chief Minister reported 1150 separatist-related deaths from 1999 until 2003. Of the 1150 killings, 193 took place during the year. For example, on May 7, 19 non-tribal villagers were killed by tribal militants in Tripura. NGOs speculated that the All India Tripura Tiger Force was responsible.

The South Asia Terrorism Portal reported that 17 persons were killed in clashes with militants in Nagaland during the year. Throughout the year, talks continued between various Naga separatists and central and state government officials, and human rights groups observed that violence had decreased; however, violent clashes between NSCN-IM and police officers continued. For example, in April security forces shot and killed one NSCN-IM member and arrested two others. On July 31, the Government extended for an additional year the ceasefire with militants; however, the Government's continued negotiations with Naga separatists over a cease-fire caused significant unrest in neighboring states.

In the north-central states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, and West Bengal, clashes between police officers and the PWG continued. The police sometimes responded with violence. For example, on September 8, 11 police personnel and a civilian were killed in a landmine explosion allegedly set by the PWG in Bihar. Twenty years of guerrilla-style conflict between state authorities and Naxalites led to serious human rights abuses committed by both sides.

Killings of security force members by militants in Jammu and Kashmir declined to 381 during the year, according to the Home Ministry.

During the year, militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir targeted civilians, members of the security forces, and politicians. According to the Home Ministry, militants had killed 808 civilians during the year, compared with 967 in 2002. For example, in April several soldiers were killed by militants in Srinagar when a bomb detonated at the entrance of the state-run television and radio station.

Authorities prosecuted militants engaged in violence. For instance, in January, one person was convicted for the December 2000 killing of a soldier and two civilians at Delhi's Red Fort. The trial of seven others continued at year's end. In October, the Delhi High Court acquitted two Kashmiri defendants, S.A.R. Geelani and Afsan Guru, of complicity in the December 2001 terrorist attack on the Indian Parliament. At the same time, the court upheld the death sentence for two additional defendants charged in connection with this attack.

Nearly 41 persons were killed in violence related to the February Nagaland elections.

Religious and ethnically motivated violence caused numerous deaths, and there were reports that Government agents encouraged this behavior.

DETENTION

The Government has implemented a variety of special security laws intended to help law enforcement authorities fight separatist insurgencies, and there were credible reports of widespread arbitrary arrest and detention under these laws during the year 2001.

Although the law that had been subject to the most extensive abuse, the TADA, lapsed in 1995, 1,502 persons previously arrested under the act continued to be held as of January 1, 1997, in a number of states, according to the NHRC's 1996-97 report. Human rights sources estimate that about 1,000 persons remained in custody under TADA or related charges at year's end. A small number of arrests under the TADA continued for crimes allegedly committed before the law lapsed. In 1997 the Government asserted that every TADA case would be reviewed; however, few persons have been released as a result of the review. Criminal cases are proceeding against most of those persons still held under the TADA, with more than 3,000 charged under other laws in addition to the TADA. In 1996 the Supreme Court eased bail guidelines for persons accused under TADA, taking into account the large backlog of cases in special TADA courts. In 1999 the state minister for home affairs told the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly that 16,620 persons had been detained under the TADA in the state since 1990; of these, 1,640 were brought to trial and 10 were convicted. Approximately 10,000 other persons either were released or still were awaiting a trial. TADA courts use abridged procedures.

For example, defense counsel is not permitted to see witnesses for the prosecution, who are kept behind screens while testifying in court. Also, confessions extracted under duress are admissible as evidence. The special task force established by the state police forces of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to capture a bandit hiding in forests in the border area between the 2 states had arrested some 121 persons under the TADA prior to the law's lapse; 51 of these persons still were in custody at year's end.

In October a Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance was promulgated, under which detention without charge for 3 months is allowed, not disclosing information to the authorities about terrorist activities is deemed an offense, and extensive new powers to ban organizations and seize their assets are established. This ordinance is similar to the TADA in that it permits detention for 30 days without trial, summary trials, and the use of testimony exacted under duress. The NHRC considers new antiterrorism laws unnecessary, and opposition parties plan to block the ordinance in Parliament before it becomes permanent. Similar bills have been proposed in various state assemblies. If enacted, they would provide for special courts to try offenses, place the burden of proof at the bail stage on the accused, make confessions to a police officer of the rank of superintendent of police admissible as evidence, extend the period of remand from 15 to 60 days, and set mandatory sentences for terrorism-related offenses. In Madhya Pradesh such a bill, designed to combat the Naxalites, was pass early in 2000, was not enacted because it failed to receive Presidential signature. The Maharashtra state assembly enacted TADA-like legislation in November 1999. By year's end, the capital territory of New Delhi decided to adopt Maharashta's Control of Organized Crime Act.

The Constitution permits preventive detention laws in the event of threats to public order and national security. Under Article 22 of the Constitution, an individual may be detained--without charge or trial--for up to 3 months, and detainees are denied their rights or compensation for unlawful arrest or detention. In addition to providing for limits on the length of detention, the preventive detention laws provide for judicial review. Several laws of this type remain in effect.

The National Security Act (NSA) permits the detention of persons considered to be security risks; police anywhere in the country (except for Jammu and Kashmir) may detain suspects under NSA provisions. Under these provisions the authorities may detain a suspect without charge or trial for as long as 1 year on loosely defined security grounds. The state government must confirm the detention order, which is reviewed by an advisory board of three High Court judges within 7 weeks of the arrest. NSA detainees are permitted visits by family members and lawyers, and must be informed of the grounds for their detention within 5 days (10 to 15 days in exceptional circumstances). The Government was not able to provide figures on how many persons were being detained nationwide under the NSA, but in 1997 there were 1,163 such persons. The NSA does not define "security risk." Human rights groups allege that preventive detention may be ordered and extended under the act purely on the opinion of the detaining authority and after advisory board review. No court may overturn such a decision.

The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA) covers corresponding procedures for that state. Over half of the detainees in Jammu and Kashmir are held under the PSA. Jammu and Kashmir police reported that 514 persons were being held under the PSA as of December 1998, the last year for which figures were available. Human rights groups say that the PSA's sweeping powers, combined with a prisoner's lack of access to family members or to a lawyer, lead to a recipe for abuse. On June 9, a series of detentions and arrests under the PSA followed protests over the killings of 6 women in Kashmir. Several members of the NGO Human Rights Front were detained for 1 day. Members of the Islamic Students League also were detained on the same day and place in preventive detention, and one student leader was ordered detained for 2 years. In addition, Dr. Hubbi, a member of the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) also was detained along with two other APHC leaders. Other APHC activists allegedly were beaten by police at the demonstration.

The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutional validity of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). In a representation made to the NHRC, the SAHRDC asserted that the act's powers were "too vast and sweeping and pose a grave threat to the fundamental rights and liberties of the citizenry of the (disturbed) areas covered by the act." The SAHRDC asserted that the powers granted to authorities under Section 3 of the act to declare any area to be a "disturbed area," and thus subject to the other provisions of the act, were too broad. Moreover, the SAHRDC noted that Section 4(a) of the act empowers any commissioned officer, warrant officer, noncommissioned officer, or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces to fire upon and otherwise use force, even to the point of death, if he believes that it is necessary for the maintenance of law and order. Further, Section 6 of the act states that "no prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings shall be instituted, except with the previous sanction of the central Government against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of powers" conferred by the act.

On June 30, 23,000 opposition party leaders and workers, mostly from the DMK party, were taken into preventive detention for 4 days in Tamil Nadu. Police organized the arrests to forestall civil disorder after the arrest of former DMK Chief Minister Karunanidhi on criminal conspiracy charges. Opposition leaders and human rights activists alleged that the roundup was unprecedented in scale and was intended to intimidate the opposition. The arrests led to the overcrowding of already congested jails. In Madurai Central prison, for example, 3,008 opposition figures joined 1,900 inmates in a facility designed for only 1,200 persons. Some of the opposition leaders taken into preventive detention were released after 4 to 5 days with no charges filed against them. None of these persons still are in jail following this mass arrest. In July the NHRC asked the Tamil Nadu state government to justify the arrests and explain apparent human rights violations. By year's end, there has been no repose to the inquiry.

Human rights groups allege that between June and August, 30 members of teachers' unions and other activist groups were detained by police in Warangel and Mahboobnagar on suspicion of PWG membership. Some of the detainees allegedly were tortured by police, and the teachers reportedly were ordered to resign from their jobs.

The Constitution provides that detainees have the right to be informed of the grounds for their arrest, to be represented by counsel, and, unless held under a preventive detention law, to appear before a magistrate within 24 hours of arrest. At this initial appearance, the accused either must be remanded for further investigation or released. The Supreme Court has upheld these provisions. The accused must be informed of the right to bail at the time of arrest and may, unless held on a nonbailable offense, apply for bail at any time. The police must file charges within 60 to 90 days of arrest; if they fail to do so, court approval of a bail application becomes mandatory.

The court system is extremely overloaded, resulting in the detention of numerous persons awaiting trial for periods longer than they would receive if convicted. Prisoners may be held for months or even years before obtaining a trial date. According to a reply to a parliamentary question in July 1994, more than 111,000 criminal cases were pending in the Allahabad High Court, the most serious case backlog in the country, of which nearly 29,000 cases had been pending for 5 to 8 years. A statement to Parliament in July 1996 indicated that criminal and civil cases pending before the country's high courts numbered nearly 2.9 million in 1995, roughly the same as in 1994, but an increase from 2.65 million in 1993. According to the Union Home Ministry, the total number of civil and criminal cases pending for 3 or more years in all courts throughout the country was 5,116,895 on December 1998. In its latest report, the NHRC reported that nearly 80 percent of all prisoners held between April 1996 and March 1997, were so-called "under-trials," i.e., unconvicted remand prisoners awaiting the start or conclusion of their trials. In its 1997-98 report, the NHRC stated that it "remains deeply disturbed by the presence of a large number of under-trial prisoners in different jails in the country." In March 1999, the chairman of the NHRC said that 60 percent of all police arrests were "unnecessary and unjustifiable," and that the incarceration of those wrongly arrested accounted for 43 percent of the total annual expenditure on prisons. The NHRC reported in February 2000 on its November 1999 visits to jails in Guwahati. The Commission found that 90 percent of the 780 inmates were unconvicted prisoners awaiting completion of trial.

In May the NHRC ordered the Madhya Pradesh government to pay $6,500 (300,000 Rs) to brothers Manoj and Narendra Tak for their illegal detention in June 1998. The police had raided their house on a false complaint by Manoj's father-in-law. The Madhya Pradesh police took the brothers away to Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, where they were implicated falsely in a local robbery case. In April 2000, the Madhya Pradesh government instituted a departmental inquiry into the matter and found that the Gwalior police had tried the brothers on a false complaint and had misused police authority to settle private scores. In February 2000, the NHRC directed the Orissa government to pay $1,044 (50,000 Rs) as interim relief to a 16-year-old boy who was victim of illegal detention and torture by police at Kandhamal. Accused of theft, the boy was sent to a regular prison to await trial, rather than a juvenile home. In March the NHRC reported that it had directed the West Bengal government to pay $1,044 (50,000 rupees) in compensation to the court guardian of a 12-year-old girl who was in the custody of the West Bengal police for nearly a decade because she was the sole witness to her parents' murder. On July 9, Bihar police registered a case against then-Bihar Minister of State for Cooperatives Lalit Yadav, his cousin, and four others for alleged illegal detention and torture of a truck driver and cleaner at the minister's residence. The complaint alleges that Yadav kept the two men in wrongful confinement for a month, beat them, and tortured them. The two men's toenails allegedly were pulled out and they were forced to drink urine. Yadav was dismissed from his state government post and from his political party membership.

On November 28, 2000, the Government announced that it was allocating $108.15 million (5.03 billion Rs) to state governments for the creation of 1,734 additional courts during 2000-05, in order to hear more cases and reduce the number of remand prisoners. At year's end, 500 of these courts had been set up.

There were no political detainees reported during the year 2001.

The Government does not use forced exile.

COURTS

There are eighteen high courts for India's twenty-five states, six union territories, and one national capital territory. Some high courts serve more than one state or union territory. For example, the high court of the union territory of Chandigarh also serves Punjab and Haryana, and the high court in Gauhati (in Meghalaya) serves Assam, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, and Arunachal Pradesh. As part of the judicial system, the high courts are institutionally independent of state legislatures and executives. The president appoints state high court chief justices after consulting with the chief justice of the Supreme Court and the governor of the state. The president also consults with the chief justice of the state high court before he appoints other high court justices. Furthermore, the president may also exercise the right to transfer high court justices without consultation. These personnel matters are becoming more politicized as chief ministers of states endeavor to exert their influence with New Delhi and the prime minister exerts influence over the president to secure politically advantageous appointments.

Each high court is a court of record exercising original and appellate jurisdiction within its respective state or territory. It also has the power to issue appropriate writs in cases involving constitutionally guaranteed Fundamental Rights. The high court supervises all courts within its jurisdiction, except for those dealing with the armed forces, and may transfer constitutional cases to itself from subordinate courts. The high courts have original jurisdiction on revenue matters. They try original criminal cases by a jury, but not civil cases.

States are divided into districts (zillas ), and within each a judge presides as a district judge over civil cases. A sessions judge presides over criminal cases. The judges are appointed by the governor in consultation with the state's high court. District courts are subordinate to the authority of their high court.

There is a hierarchy of judicial officials below the district level. Many officials are selected through competitive examination by the state's public service commission. Civil cases at the subdistrict level are filed in munsif (subdistrict) courts. Lesser criminal cases are entrusted to the courts of subordinate magistrates functioning under the supervisory authority of a district magistrate. All magistrates are under the supervision of the high court. At the village level, disputes are frequently resolved by panchayats or lok adalats (people's courts).

The judicial system retains substantial legitimacy in the eyes of many Indians despite its politicization since the 1970s. In fact, as illustrated by the rise of social action litigation in the 1980s and 1990s, many Indians turn to the courts to redress grievances with other social and political institutions. It is frequently observed that Indians are highly litigious, which has contributed to a growing backlog of cases. Indeed, the Supreme Court was reported to have more than 150,000 cases pending in 1990, the high courts had some 2 million cases pending, and the lower courts had a substantially greater backlog. Research findings in the early 1990s show that the backlogs at levels below the Supreme Court are the result of delays in the litigation process and the large number of decisions that are appealed and not the result of an increase in the number of new cases filed. Coupled with public perceptions of politicization, the growing inability of the courts to resolve disputes expeditiously threatens to erode the remaining legitimacy of the judicial system.

The Supreme Court is the ultimate interpreter of the constitution and the laws of the land. It has appellate jurisdiction over all civil and criminal proceedings involving substantial issues concerning the interpretation of the constitution. The court has the original and exclusive jurisdiction to resolve disputes between the central government and one or more states and union territories as well as between different states and union territories. And the Supreme Court is also empowered to issue advisory rulings on issues referred to it by the president. The Supreme Court has wide discretionary powers to hear special appeals on any matter from any court except those of the armed services. It also functions as a court of record and supervises every high court.

Twenty-five associate justices and one chief justice serve on the Supreme Court. The president appoints the chief justice. Associate justices are also appointed by the president after consultation with the chief justice and, if the president deems necessary, with other associate justices of the Supreme Court and high court judges in the states. The appointments do not require Parliament's concurrence. Justices may not be removed from office until they reach mandatory retirement at age sixty-five unless each house of Parliament passes, by a vote of two-thirds of the members in attendance and a majority of its total membership, a presidential order charging "proved misbehavior or incapacity."

The contradiction between the principles of parliamentary sovereignty and judicial review that is embedded in India's constitution has been a source of major controversy over the years. After the courts overturned state laws redistributing land from zamindar estates on the grounds that the laws violated the zamindars' Fundamental Rights, Parliament passed the first (1951), fourth (1955), and seventeenth amendments (1964) to protect its authority to implement land redistribution. The Supreme Court countered these amendments in 1967 when it ruled in the Golaknath v State of Punjab case that Parliament did not have the power to abrogate the Fundamental Rights, including the provisions on private property. On February 1, 1970, the Supreme Court invalidated the government-sponsored Bank Nationalization Bill that had been passed by Parliament in August 1969. The Supreme Court also rejected as unconstitutional a presidential order of September 7, 1970, that abolished the titles, privileges, and privy purses of the former rulers of India's old princely states.

In reaction to Supreme Court decisions, in 1971 Parliament passed the Twenty-fourth Amendment empowering it to amend any provision of the constitution, including the Fundamental Rights; the Twenty-fifth Amendment, making legislative decisions concerning proper land compensation nonjusticiable; and the Twenty-sixth Amendment, which added a constitutional article abolishing princely privileges and privy purses. On April 24, 1973, the Supreme Court responded to the parliamentary offensive by ruling in the Keshavananda Bharati v the State of Kerala case that although these amendments were constitutional, the court still reserved for itself the discretion to reject any constitutional amendments passed by Parliament by declaring that the amendments cannot change the constitution's "basic structure."

During the 1975-77 Emergency, Parliament passed the Forty-second Amendment in January 1977, which essentially abrogated the Keshavananda ruling by preventing the Supreme Court from reviewing any constitutional amendment with the exception of procedural issues concerning ratification. The Forty-second Amendment's fifty-nine clauses stripped the Supreme Court of many of its powers and moved the political system toward parliamentary sovereignty. However, the Forty-third and Forty-fourth amendments, passed by the Janata government after the defeat of Indira Gandhi in March 1977, reversed these changes. In the Minerva Mills case of 1980, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its authority to protect the basic structure of the constitution. However, in the Judges Transfer case on December 31, 1981, the Supreme Court upheld the government's authority to dismiss temporary judges and transfer high court justices without the consent of the chief justice.

The Supreme Court continued to be embroiled in controversy in 1989, when its US$470 million judgment against Union Carbide for the Bhopal catastrophe resulted in public demonstrations protesting the inadequacy of the settlement. In 1991 the first-ever impeachment motion against a Supreme Court justice was signed by 108 members of Parliament. A year later, a high-profile inquiry found Associate Justice V. Ramaswamy "guilty of willful and gross misuses of office . . . and moral turpitude by using public funds for private purposes and reckless disregard of statutory rules" while serving as chief justice of Punjab and Haryana. Despite this strong indictment, Ramaswamy survived parliamentary impeachment proceedings and remained on the Supreme Court after only 196 members of Parliament, less than the required two-thirds, voted for his ouster.

During 1993 and 1994, the Supreme Court took measures to bolster the integrity of the courts and protect civil liberties in the face of state coercion. In an effort to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest in the judiciary, Chief Justice Manepalli Narayanrao Venkatachaliah initiated a controversial model code of conduct for judges that required the transfer of high court judges having children practicing as attorneys in their courts. Since 1993, the Supreme Court has implemented a policy to compensate the victims of violence while in police custody. On April 27, 1994, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that enhanced the rights of individuals placed under arrest by stipulating elaborate guidelines for arrest, detention, and interrogation.

The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and the Government generally respected this provision in practice; however, serious problems remained. The judiciary was backlogged and understaffed in most parts of the country, and in Jammu and Kashmir, the judiciary has long been subject to threats and intimidation by guerillas and by security forces to obey court orders. The judicial system is headed by a Supreme Court and includes the Court of Appeals and lower courts. The highest court is the Supreme Court, which has jurisdiction over constitutional issues. Lower courts hear criminal and civil cases and send appeals to the Court of Appeals. The President appoints judges, and they may serve until the age of 62 on state high courts and until the age of 65 on the Supreme Court.

The judicial system was extremely overburdened. In general, the judiciary enforced the right to a fair trail; however, there was a large backlog of cases, and as a result, some courts barely functioned. The Criminal Procedure Code provides that trials be conducted publicly in most cases, but it allows exceptions in proceedings involving official secrets, trials in which statements prejudicial to the safety of the State might be made, or under provisions of special security legislation. Sentences must be announced publicly. Defendants have the right to choose counsel independent of the Government. There were effective channels for appeal at most levels of the judicial system, and the State provides free legal counsel to indigent defendants.

Muslim personal status law governs many noncriminal matters involving Muslims, including family law, inheritance, and divorce. The Government does not interfere in the personal status laws of the minority communities, including those that discriminate against women.

In Jammu and Kashmir, the judicial system barely functioned due to threats by militants against judges, witnesses, and their family members; because of judicial tolerance of the Government's heavy-handed antimilitant actions; and because of the frequent refusal by security forces to obey court orders. Jammu and Kashmir were reluctant to hear cases involving terrorist crimes and failed to act expeditiously on habeas corpus cases, if they acted at all. There were a few convictions of alleged terrorists in the Jammu High Court during the year; many more accused militants had been in pretrial detention for years. The number of militants in pretrial detention is in the hundreds; however, the exact number is unknown. During the year, the Government announced plans to release 274 such detainees, as a result of court orders. By year's end, only 24 militants had been released under instructions of the government-appointed Review Committee.

Criminal gangs in all four southern states were known to attack rivals and deny free access to justice. In some cases, accused persons were attacked while being escorted by police to the courts.

To remedy the severe overcrowding in the judicial system, the Government asked the government-appointed Malimath Committee to identify possible improvement. In April, AI reported that the recommendations of the Malimath Committee "represent an extremely narrow interpretation of the problems which ail the system and a set of solutions which ignore fundamental human rights safeguards." Further, AI believes "the reports recommendations will increase the risk of torture for those in police detention, severely weakening safeguards for fair trial and reduce legal protections for women."

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Independence of the Judiciary was not invited to visit the country during the year.

There were no reports of political prisoners.

CORRECTIONS

The law prohibits torture, and confessions extracted by force generally are inadmissible in court; however, authorities often used torture during interrogations. In other instances, authorities tortured detainees to extort money and sometimes as summary punishment.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture has reported that the security forces systematically tortured persons in Jammu and Kashmir to coerce confessions to militant activity, to reveal information about suspected militants, or to inflict punishment for suspected support or sympathy with militants.

In a 1996 report, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture noted that methods of torture included beating, rape, crushing the leg muscles with a wooden roller, burning with heated objects, and electric shocks. Because many alleged torture victims died in custody, and others were afraid to speak out, there were few firsthand accounts, although marks of torture often were found on the bodies of deceased detainees. For example, in February, there were protests in the villages of Handwara and Tral, after a Rashtriya Rifles unit detained two villagers, allegedly tortured them for 2 days and then released them. There were no reports of action taken in any of these cases. Unlike in 2001, the Home Ministry again did not extend an invitation to the U.N. Special Rapporteurs on Torture and on Extrajudicial Killings.

The prevalence of torture by police in detention facilities throughout the country was reflected in the number of cases of deaths in police custody. New Delhi's Tihar jail was notorious for the mistreatment of prisoners, with approximately 10 percent of custodial deaths nationwide occurring there. Police and jailers typically assaulted new prisoners for money and personal articles. In addition, police commonly tortured detainees during custodial interrogation. Although police officers were subject to prosecution for such offenses under the Penal Code, the Government often failed to hold them accountable. According to AI, torture usually takes place under two scenarios: In the course of regular criminal investigations, and following unlawful and arbitrary arrests. For example, during criminal investigations, police frequently resorted to torture to extract information from suspects while in custody.

There was no action taken, nor was any action likely to be taken, against the police officers responsible for the 2002 torture of a 37-year-old man from Chennai.

The family of the 14-year-old girl allegedly abducted, tortured, and raped for 6 days by Patiala police in Punjab in 2001 filed a report with the state authorities to press for prosecution of the responsible police officer. No action was taken by the state government at year’s end.

There also were incidents in which police beat journalists, demonstrators, and Muslim students. Police also committed abuses against tribal people.

The rape of persons in custody was part of the broader pattern of custodial abuse. NGOs asserted that rape by police, including custodial rape, was more common than NHRC figures indicated. A higher incidence of abuse appeared credible, given other evidence of abusive behavior by police and the likelihood that many rapes were unreported due to a sense of shame and a fear of retribution among victims. However, legal limits placed on the arrest, search, and police custody of women appeared effectively to limit the frequency of rape in custody. In January 2002, a tribal woman alleged that she was raped by the head constable in Vaniyyambadi Police Station in Tamil Nadu after being arrested on theft charges. The case was pending in the Chennai High Court at year's end.

During the year, the state government arrested three BSF members and ordered an inquiry into the 2002 case of the 17-year-old girl allegedly raped by three BSF force personnel in Pahalgam. The three accused were arrested, and the BSF commenced a Staff Court of Inquiry. The inquiry continued at year's end.

There was a pattern of rape by paramilitary personnel in Jammu and Kashmir and the northeast as a means of instilling fear among noncombatants in insurgency-affected areas. It was not included in NHRC statistics because it involved the military forces, over which the NHRC does not have direct investigative authority.

Human rights training for new recruits, middle ranks, and long-serving officers continued at the National Police Academy. The training has raised police awareness of human rights, and there was some decrease in police use of physical force. According to the NHRC, complaints of police harassment and abuse generally declined over a 3 year period. In April, the Home Ministry reported that from 2002 until April, there were 28,765 complaints lodged against police, compared with 29,964 in 2001-2002, and 32,123 in 2000-2001. Some militant groups in the northeast used rape as a tactic to terrorize the populace; however, no cases were known to be reported during the year.

According to press reports, prison officials used prisoners as domestic servants and sold female prisoners to brothels.

In Jammu and Kashmir, torture victims or their relatives reportedly had difficulty in filing complaints because local police were issued instructions not to open a case without permission from higher authorities. In addition, the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act of 1990 provides that unless approval is obtained from the central Government, no "prosecution, suit, or other legal proceeding shall be instituted...against any person in respect of anything done or purported to be done in exercise of the powers of the act." This provision allowed the security forces to act with virtual impunity.

In Punjab, cases of torture were inadequately prosecuted, and victims frequently refused to accept compensation out of fear of retribution. Allegations by human rights activists that victims were hounded and harassed by government agents were common.

The Government occasionally used excessive force in putting down demonstrations. There was no known action during the year, nor was any action likely to be taken, against the police officers responsible for the July 2002 beating of villagers who were forcibly evicted from their homes in Madhya Pradesh.

The Government also occasionally used excessive force against tribal people. There reportedly were no developments in the investigation of the October 2002 shooting of three tribal persons in Orissa.

Police corruption undermined efforts to combat trafficking in women and children.

Religiously motivated violence led to a number of deaths and injuries as well as damage to property.

Prison conditions were harsh and life threatening. Prisons were severely overcrowded, and the provision of food and medical care frequently was inadequate. In July, hundreds of prisoners at the Gopalgary District Jail in Bihar went on hunger strike to protest the poor sanitation, meager food supply, and severe overcrowding.

Severe overcrowding in prisons was common. For example, the Divisional Jail in Bihar had a planned capacity of 55 prisoners but held 753 inmates. Prisons operated above capacity because more than 60 percent of the prison population were persons awaiting hearings. For example, the Government reported that New Delhi's Tihar jail held four times as many prisoners as its capacity at year's end. The Government announced plans to address the overcrowding in prisons by building four additional prisons; however, no further action had been taken by year's end.

The 1,157 deaths in judicial custody reported to the NHRC in March included a large proportion of deaths from natural causes that in some cases were aggravated by poor prison conditions. A study in 2002 conducted by the NHRC found that tuberculosis was the cause of death in most deaths in judicial custody. With the country's high incident of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, prison overcrowding was a serious health threat. There were reports that some prisoners died in custody from HIV-AIDS related illnesses.

Deaths in police custody, which typically occurred within hours or days of initial detention, more clearly implied violent abuse and torture. However, in January 2001, the NHRC requested that the Commission be informed of any custodial death within 2 months and that a post-mortem report, magisterial inquest, and a video of the post-mortem be provided to the NHRC.

NGOs were allowed to work in prisons, within specific governmental guidelines. In Kerala and Karnataka, the state governments selectively cleared NGOs to visit prisons. Although custodial abuse is deeply rooted in police practices, increased press reporting and parliamentary questioning provided evidence of growing public awareness of the problem. The NHRC identified torture and deaths in detention as one of its priority concerns. In February, the Government disclosed plans to supplement state funds to effect prison reforms. Noting that Orissa demonstrated a particular need for assistance, the Home Ministry reported that it had provided $5,000 (233,078 Rs) for the modernization of the prison administration between 1993 and 2002.

Women were housed separately from men. By law, juveniles must be detained in rehabilitative facilities; however, at times they were detained in prison, especially in rural areas. Pretrial detainees were not separated from convicted prisoners.

Human rights NGOs, family members, and lawyers were allowed access to some detention facilities; however, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visited detention facilities in Jammu and Kashmir. Fifteen states and union territories have authorized the NHRC to conduct surprise check-ups on jails. The NHRC's "Special Rapporteur and Chief Coordinator of Custodial Justice" helped implement its directive to state prison authorities to perform medical check-ups on all inmates.

WOMEN

Domestic violence was common and a serious problem. In a survey by the National Family Health Survey released in 2002, 56 percent of the women said that domestic violence was justified. These sentiments led to underreporting and, combined with ineffective prosecution, made progress against domestic violence difficult. According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), there were 49,170 cases of domestic violence reported in the country from 1998-2001.

The issue of rape received increased political and social attention during the year. The majority of rapes are never reported to the authorities. The NCRB reported that there were only 16,075 cases of rape from 1998-2001. However, the Home Ministry reported in February that, in 2001, there was a 16.5 percent increase in reported rape cases as compared to 2000.

The press consistently reported that violence against women was increasing, although local women's organizations claimed that there simply had been increased reporting. Only 10 percent of rape cases were adjudicated fully by the courts, and police typically failed to arrest rapists, thus fostering a climate of impunity. Mass rapes often formed part of the tactics of intimidation used by upper caste gangs against lower castes, and gang rapes often were committed as a punishment for alleged adultery or as a means of coercion or revenge in rural property disputes. The number of reported rape cases and the extent of prosecution varied from state to state. In Assam, 30 percent of rape cases involved girls below 18 years of age. Most of the victims were maidservants, some as young as 6 years old. For example, in October, a 17-year-old girl allegedly was gang-raped by Presidential Body Guards in New Delhi. There was no action taken by the authorities in this case at year's end.

Dowry disputes also were a serious problem. Although providing or taking dowry is illegal under the Dowry Prohibition Act, dowry was practiced widely. In the typical dowry dispute, a groom's family members harassed a new wife whom they believed had not provided a sufficient dowry. This harassment sometimes ended in the woman's death, which family members often tried to portray as a suicide or accident. According to NGOs, approximately 7,000 deaths each year in the country are from dowry-related burnings. Although most dowry deaths involved lower and middle-class families, the phenomenon crossed both caste and religious lines. According to the NCRB, between 1998-2001, there were 6,851 reported dowry-related deaths in the country. In August, the Government announced that defendants under the Anti-Dowry Act would be able to be released on bail.

Women usually at a disadvantage in dowry disputes, began to speak out against dowry demands. For example, in August, Nisha Sharma filed a complaint with the police when her father was asked for more dowry minutes before she was to be married. The potential groom was detained for 14 days while formal charges were filed for violating the country's laws against dowries.

Under the Penal Code, courts must presume that the husband or the wife's in-laws were responsible for every unnatural death of a woman in the first 7 years of marriage--provided that harassment was proven. In such cases, police procedures required that an officer of deputy superintendent rank or above conduct the investigation and that a team of two or more doctors perform the postmortem procedures. According to human rights monitors, in practice police did not follow these procedures consistently.

Sati, the practice of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands, was banned, but continued to be practiced in some areas. There were no developments in the arrest of 15 persons in connection with the 2002 sati incident in Madhya Pradesh.

"Honor killings" were also a problem. Human Rights organizations estimated that up to 10 percent of all killings in the northern states of Punjab and Haryana were so-called honor killings; however, many more women are believed to be affected by this crime. In Muzaffarnagar, 13 cases of honor killings were report during the first 9 months of the year, up from 10 in 2002.

Several traditional practices that were harmful to women continued during the year. In March, 100 women in Tamil Nadu were walked on by a Hindu priest with nails in his shoes in a ritual intended to cure them of physical and mental illnesses; the state's human rights commission issued a request to investigate the incident. There were no developments in the 2002 cases of a tribal woman in Madhya Pradesh forced to bathe in urine and the woman in Indore forced to engage in the practice of "agnipariksha."

In remote villages, witchcraft accusations and punishments still occurred.

Societal violence against women was a serious problem. In January, the National Commission for Women reported that it was dissatisfied with the Gujarat government's handling of rape cases stemming from the 2002 riots, noting that there were no convictions during the year.

Dalit ("untouchable") women have been stripped naked by mobs and paraded around in public to humiliate Dalits who offended other castes. For example, in June, a Dalit girl allegedly was abducted and gang-raped by three youths in Noida. No further information was available at year's end. In 2002, a Dalit woman allegedly was paraded naked in Chhattisgarh. Police arrested two men in connection with the 2002 abduction and gang rape of a Dalit women in Haryana state.

Numerous laws exist to protect women's rights, including the Equal Remuneration Act, the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act, the Sati (Widow Burning) Prevention Act, and the Dowry Prohibition Act. However, the Government often was unable to enforce these laws, especially in rural areas in which traditions were deeply rooted. According to press reports, the rate of acquittal in dowry death cases was high, and due to court backlogs, it took an average of six to seven years to conclude such cases.

Prostitution was common. According to UNICEF, the country contained half of the one million children worldwide who enter the sex trade each year. Many indigenous tribal women were forced into sexual exploitation. In recent years, prostitutes began to demand legal rights, licenses, and reemployment training, especially in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Calcutta. In 2002, the Government signed the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Convention on Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution. The country is a significant source, transit point, and destination for many thousands of trafficked women.

Sexual harassment was common, with a vast majority of cases unreported to authorities. Sexual harassment of women in the workplace became a subject of NHRC consideration during the year. The NHRC instituted a committee to investigate harassment of women in the legal profession and asked universities to establish complaint committees immediately. The commission suggested the creation of a telephone hot line for complaints, initially starting in New Delhi, and gave advice to the media on reporting incidents of harassment against women.

During the year, women joined the National Security Guard for the first time as a result of an internal change in policy which had previously prohibited women from this organization.

The law prohibits discrimination in the workplace, but enforcement was inadequate. In both rural and urban areas, women were paid less than men for the same job. Women experienced economic discrimination in access to employment and credit, which acted as an impediment to women owning a business. The promotion of women to managerial positions within businesses often was slower than that of males. State governments supported micro credit programs for women that began to have an impact in many rural districts.

The Government continued to review legislation on marriage; it passed the Indian Divorce (Amendment) Act during 2001; the act widely had been criticized as biased against women. The Act placed limitations on interfaith marriages and specified penalties, such as 10 years' imprisonment, for clergymen who contravened its provisions.

In Kashmir, the Lashkar-e-Jabbar militant group required all Muslim women to wear a burqa (a garment that totally covered the face and body) when in public or risk retribution. A significant number of women in the Kashmir Valley appeared to be complying with the order, frightened by the threat of being attacked with acid, beheaded, or killed. Lashkar-e-Jabbar also further ordered Hindus and Sikhs in the valley to wear identifying marks and told transport companies to reserve 50 percent of their seats for women in an effort to separate men and women in public spaces. At year's end, the Home Ministry reported that no women police officers had to quit their jobs as a result of the 2002 militant threat that ordered all women police officers in Rajouri District of Jammu and Kashmir to quit their jobs by January 2003.

Under many tribal land systems, notably in Bihar, tribal women do not have the right to own land. Other laws relating to the ownership of assets and land accorded women little control over land use, retention, or sale. However, several exceptions existed, such as in Ladakh and Meghalaya, where women could have several husbands and control the family inheritance.

In December, the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislative Assembly passed legislation that reserved 33 percent of its seats for women.

The Government addressed women's concerns primarily through the National Commission for Women, but NGOs were also influential.

CHILDREN

The Government has not demonstrated a commitment to children's rights and welfare. The Government does not provide compulsory, free, and universal primary education, and only approximately 59 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 14 attend school. However, in 2002, the lower house of Parliament passed a constitutional amendment giving all children ages 6 to 14 the right to free and compulsory education provided by the State. The amended law also placed an obligation on parents and guardians to provide educational opportunities to these children. Of a primary school-age population of approximately 203 million, approximately 120 million children attended school. However, according to UNICEF, 76.2 percent of all children aged 11 to 13 years were attending school. No significant sectors or groups actively were excluded from education, but children of wealthier families were more likely to attend school. A significant gender gap existed in school attendance, particularly at the secondary level.

Child welfare organizations estimated that there were 500,000 street children nationwide living in abject poverty. A coalition of approximately 50 NGOs conducted a detailed survey in the Calcutta municipal area and identified 145,000 children who were not attending school, although not all of them were street children.

Medical care is free to all citizens; however, availability and quality were problems, particularly in rural areas.

Child abuse is prohibited specifically by law. There were societal patterns of abuse of children; however, the Government has not released comprehensive statistics regarding child abuse.

Abuse of children in both public and private educational institutions was a problem. Schoolteachers often beat children. In June, police arrested the mathematics teacher who allegedly beat a student in Velammal Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Kannappan. In December, a student in Madhyra Pradesh was allegedly blinded by a teacher for not doing his homework. There were no developments in the investigation of the August 2001 death of three children after the Assam government asked them to participate in a march.

The Child Marriage Restraint (Amendment) Act prohibits child marriage, a traditional practice in the northern part of the country. The Act raised the age requirement for marriage for girls to 18 from 15 years, but the Government did not enforce the Act. According to one report, 50 percent of girls in Bihar, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh were married by age 16. However, the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) statistics showed a slight decrease in the number of child marriages during 2001. Each year in April, during the Hindu festival of Askhay Tritiya, thousands of child marriages were performed in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan. Although state governments conducted awareness campaigns during the year, enforcement was weak, and the practice was accepted in certain communities.

Runaway children, especially in larger cities, were at high risk for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. They often worked 18-to 20-hour days, frequently in hazardous conditions, and suffered sexual and mental abuse. Discrimination against children with HIV/AIDS was a problem. For example, in March, two children with HIV/AIDS were refused entry into a state school in Kerala. The children eventually were allowed to enter another state-run school in Kollam.

Trafficking in children for the purpose of forced prostitution was a problem.

The buying and selling of children for adoption occurred. For example, in February, the Salem district collector ordered an inquiry into the reported sale of baby girls in Kolathur. At year’s end, police had made no arrests in connection with this incident.

The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment set up a 24-hour "child help line" phone-in service for children in distress in 14 cities. Run by NGOs with government funding, the child help line assisted street children, orphans, destitute children, runaway children, and children suffering abuse and exploitation.

The traditional preference for male children continued. The law prohibits the use of amniocentesis and sonogram tests for sex determination; however, despite an order from the Supreme Court during the year, the Government did not effectively enforce the law. The tests were misused widely for sex determination, and termination of a disproportionate number of pregnancies with female fetuses occurred. During the year, the Government passed a bill in Parliament which fined any persons $1,000 (50,000 Rs) if they perform a sex selection procedure. In the 12 years since the State of Maharashtra passed a law banning the use of such tests for sex determination, the state government filed charges against only one doctor, who was acquitted. Human rights groups estimated that at least 10,000 cases of female infanticide occurred yearly. Parts of Tamil Nadu still had high rates of female infanticide. In addition, parents often gave priority in health care and nutrition to male infants. Women's rights groups pointed out that the burden of providing girls with an adequate dowry was one factor that made daughters less desirable.

In Tamil Nadu, three persons were sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a newborn girl. Tamil Nadu implemented a "cradle scheme" in 1992 in which persons could leave unwanted infants outside the Social Welfare Department.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

The law prohibits trafficking in persons; however, trafficking in persons was a significant problem. NGOs alleged that corruption at the enforcement level helps to perpetuate the problem. The country was a significant source, transit point, and destination for numerous trafficked persons, primarily for the purposes of prostitution and forced labor.

The country was a destination country for Nepali and Bangladeshi women and girls trafficked for the purpose of labor and prostitution. Internal trafficking of women and children was widespread. To a lesser extent, the country is a origin for women and children trafficked to other countries in Asia, the Middle East, and the West. The country serves as a transit point for Bangladeshi girls and women trafficked for sexual exploitation to Pakistan, and for boys trafficked to the Gulf States to work as camel jockeys. NGOs reported that sexual exploitation of children for sex tourism increased sharply in the states of Goa and Kerala.

Child prostitution occurred in the cities, and there were an estimated 500,000 child prostitutes nationwide. More than 2.3 million girls and women were believed to be working in the sex industry within the country at any given time, and more than 200,000 persons were believed to be trafficked into, within, or through the country annually. Women's rights organizations and NGOs estimated that more than 12,000 and perhaps as many as 50,000 women and children were trafficked into the country annually from neighboring states for the sex trade. According to an ILO estimate, 15 percent of the country's estimated 2.3 million prostitutes were children, while the U.N. reported that an estimated 40 percent were below 18 years of age. A large proportion of the women forced into sexual exploitation were tribals.

Trafficking in, to, and through the country largely was controlled by organized crime.

There was a growing pattern of trafficking in child prostitutes from Nepal and from Bangladesh (6,000 to 10,000 annually from each). Girls as young as 7 years of age were trafficked from economically depressed neighborhoods in Nepal, Bangladesh, and rural areas to the major prostitution centers of Mumbai, Calcutta, and New Delhi. NGOs estimate that there were approximately 100,000 to 200,000 women and girls working in brothels in Mumbai and 40,000 to 100,000 in Calcutta.

In West Bengal, the organized traffic in illegal Bangladeshi immigrants was a principal source of bonded labor. Calcutta was a convenient transit point for traffickers who send Bangladeshis to New Delhi, Mumbai, Uttar Pradesh, and the Middle East.

Within the country, women from economically depressed areas often moved into the cities seeking greater economic opportunities, and once there were victimized by traffickers who forced or coerced them into the sex trade. In some cases, family members sold young girls into the sex trade. Extreme poverty combined with the low social status of women often resulted in the handover by parents of their children to strangers for what they believed was employment or marriage. In some instances, parents received payments or the promise that their children would send wages back home.

Many indigenous tribal women were forced into sexual exploitation. According to the Indian Center for Indigenous and Tribal Peoples (ICITP), more than 40,000 tribal women, mainly from Orissa and Bihar, were forced into economic and sexual exploitation; many came from tribes that were driven off their land by national park schemes. Press reports indicated children were routinely trafficked from Assam into Haryana and other North Indian states for sexual slavery under the pretext of entering into arranged marriages.

The number of women being trafficked to other countries was comparatively low.

Some boys, often as young as age 4, were trafficked to West Asia or the Persian Gulf States and became camel jockeys in camel races. Some boys end up as beggars in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj. The majority of such children worked with the knowledge of their parents, who received as much as $200 (9,300 Rs) for their child's labor, although a significant minority simply were kidnapped. The gangs bringing the jockeys earned approximately $150 (6,975 Rs) per month from the labor of each child. The child's names were usually added to the passport of a Bangladeshi or Indian woman who already had a visa for the Gulf. Girls and women were trafficked to the Persian Gulf States to work as domestic workers or sex workers.

The National Commission for Women reported that organized crime played a significant role in the country's sex trafficking trade and that women and children who were trafficked frequently were subjected to extortion, beatings, and rape. How women were trafficked varies widely: Although some were abducted forcibly or drugged, most were trafficked through false offers of marriage, employment, or shelter. Poverty, illiteracy, and lack of employment opportunities contributed to the trafficking problem, although organized crime was a common element in all trafficking incidents, as was police corruption and collusion. Although corruption was endemic in the country, there was no known anti-corruption initiative that was linked specifically to corruption as it related to trafficking during the year. NGOs alleged that ignorance, a lack of political resolve to tackle it, and corruption at the enforcement level perpetuated the problem.

Although the police were charged with enforcing the country's laws on prostitution and trafficking in women and children, NGOs, observers, and sex workers have viewed police actions as part of the problem. Sex workers in Mumbai and Calcutta claimed that harassment, extortion, and occasional arrests on soliciting charges usually characterized police intervention. NGOs, victims, and the media continued to identify corruption at the enforcement level as an impediment to swifter and fairer justice for trafficked women and children.

Victims of trafficking were subject to threats, including emotional blackmail, violence, and confinement, as well as the threat of apprehension by authorities, detention, prosecution and deportation.

The penalty for traffickers was prescribed by the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA). If the offense had been committed against a child (under 16 years), the punishment was imprisonment for 7 years to life. If the victim was a minor (16 to 18 years), the punishment was from 7 to 14 years. Other penalties under the act range from minimum terms of imprisonment of 1 year for brothel-keeping, to minimum terms of 7 years to life imprisonment for detaining a person, with or without consent, for prostitution.

The Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act (ITPA), supplemented by the Penal Code, prohibits trafficking in human beings and contains severe penalties for violations. The Constitution also prohibits trafficking in persons. The ITPA toughened penalties for trafficking in children, particularly by focusing on traffickers, pimps, landlords, and brothel operators, while protecting underage girls as victims. The ITPA required police to use only female police officers to interrogate girls rescued from brothels. The ITPA also required the Government to provide protection and rehabilitation for these rescued girls. In addition, under the ITPA, prostitution is not a crime; the ITPA criminalizes only solicitation or engaging in sex acts in or near a public place. Some NGOs noted that this ambiguity, which was intended to protect trafficking victims, instead was exploited to protect the sex industry.

However, the country's prostitution and trafficking laws were selectively enforced by police; clients and organizers of the sex trade tended not to be penalized, while prostitutes found soliciting or practicing their trade in or near (200 yards) public places were arrested. Due to the selective implementation, the "rescue" of sex workers from brothels often led to their revictimization. Using the ITPA's provisions against soliciting or engaging in sexual acts, police regularly arrest sex workers, extort money from them, evict them, and take their children from them. Clients of prostitutes, by comparison, largely were immune from any law enforcement threat, as clients committed a crime only if they had engaged in a sex act with a sex worker in a public place or had had sex with a girl under the age of 16 years (statutory rape). Therefore, although the intention of the ITPA was to increase enforcement efforts against the traffickers, pimps, and border operators, the opposite occurred. Implementation of the ITPA's provisions for protection and rehabilitation of women and children rescued from the sex trade was extremely poor. NGOs familiar with the legal history of prostitution and trafficking laws regarded the failure of the judiciary to recognize this inequity in the law's implementation as a continuing "blind spot." Over the last several years, arrests and prosecutions under the ITPA increased slightly, while all indications suggested a growing level of trafficking into and within the country.

NGOs and others alleged that police did not act effectively against brothels suspected of enslaving minors, and did not coordinate with NGOs. Therefore, the police action often worsened the situation of girls and women indebted to traffickers and brothel owners. Girls rescued from brothels were treated as criminals. In many cases, the police or the staff of government remand centers, where they were housed temporarily, abused them sexually. In most cases, arrested prostitutes were quickly returned to the brothels after the brothel operators paid bribes to the authorities. In still other cases, arrested prostitutes were released into the custody of traffickers and madams posing as relatives. In these cases, the debt owned by the girls to the brothel operators and traffickers further increases as the costs of bribing or legally obtaining release of the girls is added to their labor debt.

NGOs also have demanded that special ITPA courts for speedy resolution of cases allow videotaped testimony so that underage victims need not be summoned back for trial. For example, videotaped testimony was allowed during a Mumbai trial.

The Government continued a campaign to improve police training and sensitivity to trafficking issues. According to NGOs, there were improvements in investigations and arrests of traffickers in Mumbai and Calcutta. During the year, police and NGOs rescued 12 minor girls from brothels in New Delhi. There were roughly 80 NGOs in ten states around the country working for the emancipation and rehabilitation of women and children trafficked into the sex trade. A group on child prostitution established by the NHRC includes representatives from the National Commission for Women, the Department of Women and Child Development, NGOs, and UNICEF. It continued to meet throughout the year to devise means of improving enforcement of legal prohibitions.

Some NGOs were very knowledgeable about the trafficking situation and could identify traffickers and the locations of girls being held captive by brothel owners. However, most of these NGOs were reluctant to trust the police with this information due to the past conduct of police in brothel raids and the likelihood that many trafficking victims would be arrested and revictimized rather than assisted by such raids. Press reports in August said the 37 girls had been successfully rescued due to the joint efforts of the state government of Maharashtra and a local NGO.

Efforts to improve NGO coordination were being made in Calcutta, where 10 NGOs met monthly as part of the Action Against Trafficking and Sexual Exploitation of Children (AATSEC) forum. Every 3 months, the group attempted to meet with its Bangladeshi and Nepalese counterparts. Calcutta NGOs such as Sanlaap also were seeking to build stronger working relationships with local police.

The Government cooperated with groups in Nepal and Bangladesh to deal with the problem. Training and informational meetings took place under the AATSEC and the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation. The NHRC asked the committee that oversees the Hajj (pilgrimage) to require individual passports for children instead of allowing them to be included on that of their escort, in order to reduce trafficking of children. NHRC also advised the Government of West Bengal to make efforts to educate Muslims about child trafficking. In addition, the Central Police Academy conducted, in conjunction with local state police academies, improved training designed in part to sensitize officers to the problem of trafficking and strengthen police responsiveness to trafficking victims.

DRUG TRAFFICKING

India is a transshipment point for heroin from Southwest Asia (Afghanistan and Pakistan), and from Southeast Asia (Burma, Laos, and Thailand). Heroin is smuggled from Pakistan and Burma, with some quantities transshipped through Nepal. In 1998, there were continued high seizures of SWA heroin by the border security forces. There are convincing reports of increased shipments of Burmese heroin across the remote Indo-Burma border, but seizures, while increasing, have not increased to the extent of seizures on the Indo-Pakistani border.

Most heroin shipped from India is apparently destined for Europe, and most seizures of heroin at the New Delhi airport are from flights bound for Europe. There have been increasingly frequent credible reports of heroin smuggled from Bombay to Nigeria for further export, however, primarily to the U.S. The amount of heroin transshipped through India to the U.S. remains unknown, but from those statistics that are available, the amount of Indian-origin heroin bound for the United States does not appear to be significant at this time. The export of methaqualone from India to Africa recently seems to have decreased as improved technology, particularly in South Africa, now allows the local manufacture of methaqualone in Africa. The GOI notifies the DEA of any significant export shipment of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine to the U.S. and has agreed not to allow any shipment unless the DEA issues a letter of non-objection.

No accurate data on the extent of opium and heroin addiction exist. Government estimates of from one to five million opium users, and about one million heroin addicts throughout India, remain unchanged, but some NGOs estimate the number of addicts is much higher. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is now preparing to fund a comprehensive survey of narcotics addiction in India to be carried out by a selected NGO contractor.

The Health and Welfare Ministries, UNDCP, and police groups support treatment and rehabilitation centers. Voluntary agencies conduct demand reduction and public awareness programs under grants from the Indian government but lack both adequate funding and staff despite an increase in GOI budget support for drug abuse prevention and rehabilitation programs which rose from about $1.5 million in 1991-92 to $4.9 million in 1997-98. The GOI is cooperating with the UNDCP/ILO in the development of a drug rehabilitation and prevention program in several major cities. Plans have been drawn up to expand this program nationwide and to seek support from the corporate sector. In addition, the GOI has a comprehensive program for the Northeastern states including de-addiction centers, training courses, and an awareness program. The GOI is now considering new initiatives to reduce illicit drug demand and reduce HIV/AIDS transmission through new community-based facilities. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment also has established a center for drug abuse prevention as part of the government's National Institute of Social Defense in New Delhi.

During 1998, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health) sponsored a workshop on drug abuse in Chennai as well as funding the travel of Indians to conferences in the United States on demand reduction and the reduction of HIV risk among drug abusers. NIDA also initiated a U.S.- India Fund (USIF) research project on intravenous drug users and HIV prevention in New Delhi. In June 1998, the Director of NIDA met with the Indian Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment in New Delhi on demand reduction programs. In 1998, the U.S. Information Service (USIS) funded demand-reduction training seminars in Jaipur and New Delhi in cooperation with the Indian Psychiatric Society and the Jawaharlal Nehru University and sent a professor of psychiatry from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to the United States for a program on substance abuse prevention and education.

During 1998, the USG worked with the GOI to focus more high-level attention on and allocate more resources to narcotics control programs and insuring an adequate supply of licit opium to the world market. We also urged the GOI to update its domestic laws to comply with the obligations of the 1988 United Nations Drug Convention, particularly those related to asset forfeiture and money laundering.

The USG funds training for enforcement personnel, including the Indian Coast Guard. Relations between the DEA and NCB are good, with emphasis on exchange of narcotics enforcement and intelligence information.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Internet research assisted by Sheetal Saini.

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