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Raqib Naik delivers keynote on ‘India’s Authoritarian Descent’ At Oslo Freedom Forum

Raqib Hameed Naik, a Kashmiri journalist and the founder of India Hate Lab and Hindutva Watch, represented India at the Oslo Freedom Forum, marking a significant milestone for Indian voices in the global human rights discourse.

For the first time, ‘India’s authoritarian descent’ took center stage at the Oslo Freedom Forum (OFF) held in Oslo, Norway from June 3rd to June 5th, 2024.

On June 4th, the election results were announced, Raqib Hameed Naik addressed over 1000 people with a speech titled “Unmasking Hate & Oppression: India’s Authoritarian Descent.” He spoke about the alarming increase in hate crimes and authoritarianism in India, highlighting the persecution of religious minorities and the spread of hate speech and disinformation.

The theme for 2024, “Reclaim Democracy,” emphasized the role of individuals in promoting renewed freedoms and democracy, and focused on how society can reverse global trends and restore democracy.

Raqib Hameed Naik, a Kashmiri journalist and the founder of India Hate Lab and Hindutva Watch, represented India at the forum.

As the founder of two comprehensive hate crime datasets, which were blocked by the Indian Government in January 2024, Naik continues to advocate for justice by documenting and analyzing hate crime cases.

Naik described how the Indian government attempted to suppress his work by blocking his websites and social media within the country, shedding light on the challenges faced by human rights activists.

He provided examples of systematic human rights violations targeting religious minorities and discussed the government’s censorship efforts, including restrictions on his websites and social media accounts, as part of a broader crackdown on dissent and human rights advocacy.

Naik also discussed the situation in his homeland, Kashmir, and the atrocities suffered by its people following the revocation of Article 370.

He shared his personal experience of being targeted by the regime, including relentless interrogations by local intelligence officers and a terrifying incident where unidentified men attempted to enter his home.

These events, along with the escalating crackdown in Kashmir, ultimately forced Naik to leave his home and relocate to the US.

The Oslo Freedom Forum, established in 2009, has been a platform for the voices of oppressed and marginalized communities, fostering a global community dedicated to defending human rights.

Each year, the forum offers keynotes, interactive panels, workshops, and networking opportunities to equip attendees with practical tools and knowledge to promote human rights and democracy in their own countries.

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