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Country Fact Sheet - India

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Publication Date May 2007
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Country Fact Sheet - India, May 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/46d2ebbe24.html [accessed 26 November 2014]
Comments This document was prepared by the Research Directorate of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada on the basis of publicly available information, analysis and comment. All sources are cited. This document is not, and does not purport to be, either exhaustive with regard to conditions in the country surveyed or conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. For further information on current developments, please contact the Research Directorate.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

1. GENERAL INFORMATION

Official name

The Republic of India.

Geography

India is located in Southern Asia, bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west and the Bay of Bengal to the east. Its neighbouring countries are: Pakistan to the northwest, China, Bhutan and Nepal to the north and Myanmar (formerly Burma) to the northeast. Bangladesh is surrounded by Indian territory except for a short border with Myanmar in the east. Sri Lanka is located near India's southern border, across the Gulf of Mannar. The total area is 3,287,590 km2 (land: 2,973,190 km2, water: 314,400 km2). The climate ranges from temperate in the north to tropical monsoon in the south. India is subject to natural hazards such as droughts, floods, severe thunderstorms and earthquakes.

Population and density

Population: 1,095,351,995 (July 2006 estimate).

Density: 343 per km2 (mid-2004 estimate).

Principal cities and populations

New Delhi (capital) 294,783; Greater Mumbai 16,434,386; Kolkata 13,205,697; Delhi 12,877,470; Chennai 6,560,242; Hyderabad 5,742,036; Bangalore 5,701,446; Jaipur 5,251,071; Ahmedabad 4,525,013; Pune 3,760,636; Ludhiana 3,032,831; Surat 2,811,614; Kanpur 2,715,555; Lucknow 2,245,509; Faridabad 2,194,586; Nagpur 2,129,500; Patna 1,697,976; Indore 1,516,918; Vadodara 1,491,045; Coimbatore 1,461,139; Bhopal 1,458,416; Kochi 1,355,972; Visakhapatnam 1,345,938; Agra 1,331,339; Varanasi 1,203,961; Madurai 1,203,095; Meerut 1,161,716; Nashik 1,152,326; Jamshedpur 1,104,713; Jabalpur 1,098,000; Asansol 1,067,369; Dhanbad 1,065,327; Allahabad 1,042,229; Vijayawada 1,039,518; Amritsar 1,003,917; Rajkot 1,003,015 (2001 census).

Languages

Hindi is the official language of India and primary tongue of 30% of the population; however, English, as an associate official language, is widely used for national, political and commercial communication. The constitution recognizes 18 other regional languages and many other local languages are also used. The most widely spoken regional languages include Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, Urdu and Gujarati.

Religions

Hindu 80.5%, Muslim 13.4%, Christian 2.3%, Sikh 1.9% and other 1.8% (2001 census).

Ethnic groups

Indo-Aryan 72%, Dravidian 25%, Mongoloid and other 3% (2000 estimate).

Demographics (2006 estimate unless otherwise indicated)

Population growth rate: 1.38%.

Infant mortality rate: 54.63 deaths/1,000 live births.

Life expectancy at birth: 64.71 years.

Fertility rate: 2.73 children born/woman.

Literacy: 59.5% of people 15 years of age or older can read and write (2003 estimate).

Currency

Indian rupee (INR).

INR 39.14 = CAD 1.001

National holidays

26 January (Republic Day).

The public holidays observed in India vary locally. The following dates apply to Delhi.

2006: 1 January (New Year's Day), 11 January (Id ul-Zuha, Feast of the Sacrifice), 31 January (Muharram, Islamic New Year), 26 February (Maha Shivaratri), 6 April (Ram Navami), 11 April (Birth of the Prophet), 13 April (Mahavir Jayanti), 21 April (Good Friday), 13 May (Buddha Purnima), 15 August (Independence Day), 2 September (Dussehra), 5 September (Janmashtami), 2 October (Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday), 21 October (Diwali), 24 October (Id al-FItr, end of Ramadan), 26 November (Guru Nanak Jayanti), 25 December (Christmas), 31 December (Id ul-Zuha, Feast of the Sacrifice).

2007: 1 January (New Year's Day), 20 January (Muharram, Islamic New Year), 16 February (Maha Shivaratri), 27 March (Ram Navami), 31 March (Birth of the Prophet), 2 April (Mahavir Jayanti), 6 April (Good Friday), 2 May (Buddha Purnima), 15 August (Independence Day), 4 September (Janmashtami), 2 October (Mahatma Gandhi's Birthday), 13 October (Id al-Fitr, end of Ramadan), 21 October (Dussehra), 9 November (Diwali), 24 November (Guru Nanak Jayanti), 20 December (Id ul-Zuha, Feast of the Sacrifice), 25 December (Christmas).

Head of state

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam (sworn in on 26 July 2002).

Head of government

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (sworn in on 22 May 2004).

Form of government

India is a federal republic. The president exercises executive authority following the advice of the Council of Ministers, which is responsible to parliament. The vice-president acts as ex officio chairman of the upper house of the legislature and the Council of States (Rajya Sabha).

Legislative structure

The Council of States (Rajya Sabha) and the People's Assembly (Lok Sabha) constitute bicameral parliament. The Council of States includes 250 members, up to 12 of whom are appointed by the president while the rest are chosen by the elected members of the state and territorial assemblies. The People's Assembly includes 545 members, 2 of whom are appointed by the president and the remainder by popular vote.

Administrative divisions

India has 28 states and 7 union territories.

States: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttaranchal, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

Union territories: Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, Delhi, Lakshadweep, Pondicherry.

Judicial system

India has a Supreme Court which consists of a chief justice and 25 judges appointed by the president. The high courts are appellate courts with jurisdiction over lower courts. For criminal matters, the lower courts are called Courts of Session and Courts of Magistrates.

Elections

India has universal suffrage for individuals 18 years of age and over. The president is elected for a term of five years. Members of the Council of States serve a six-year term, while members of the People's Assembly (Lok Sabha) serve a five-year term. The last parliamentary election for the People's Assembly was held on 10 May 2004. The election yielded the following results in terms of parliamentary seats: Indian National Congress (INC) 145, Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) 138, Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M) 43, Socialist (or Samajwadi) Party (SP) 36, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) 24, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) 19, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) 16, Shiv Sena (SS) 12, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) 11, Communist Party of India (CPI) 10, National Congress Party (NCP) 9, Janata Dal United (JDU) 8, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) 8, Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) 6, Telugu Desam Party (TDP) 5, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) 5, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) 5, Loktantrik Jan Samata Party (LJSP) 4, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) 4, independents 5 and other 30.

Defence

The constitution provides that every citizen has a duty to perform national service when called upon, yet military service is considered voluntary. Eligibility for voluntary military service begins at 16 years of age.

In August 2005, the total strength of the armed forces was 1,325,000, divided as follows: army of 1,100,000, navy of 55,000 and air force of 170,000. The active paramilitary forces consist of a total of 1,293,229 men, including the Border Security Force of 208,422, mainly serving in the conflict zone of Jammu and Kashmir.

The proposed defence budget for 2005/2006 was estimated at INR 969,520,000,000.00 (CAD 24,839,102,400.002).

Media

Part III, Article 19(1) of the 1949 constitution, amended in 2003, affirms freedom of expression.

The main newspapers in India, all of which are published in English, are: Deccan Herald, The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, The Pioneer, The Indian Express, The Statesman, The Times of India and The Asian Age. India Today and Outlook are India's two main news magazines.

The two major news agencies operating in India are Press Trust of India Ltd. (English and Hindi service) and United News of India (UNI) (in Hindi and Urdu).

Television and radio broadcasting are controlled by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Television is financed entirely by the government while radio is primarily government funded.

In 2001, there were approximately 85 million television receivers and, as of 2004, 13,030,000 personal computers in use in India. In 2005, there were approximately 60 million Internet users in India.

United Nations Human Development Index and Country RankA

Value: 0.611/1 (2004).

Rank: 126 out of 177 countries (2004).

United Nations Gender-related Development Index and Country RankB

Value: 0.591/1 (2004).

Rank: 96 out of 177 countries.

Population below the national poverty line

25% (2002 estimate).

Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)C

Score: 3.3/10.

Rank: 70 out of 163 countries surveyed.

Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer (GCB)D

Political parties 4.7, parliament/legislature 4.4, police 4.7, legal system/judiciary 4.3, tax revenue 3.8, business/private sector 3.4, customs 4.1, medical services 3.8, media 2.7, education system 3.8, utilities 3.7, registry and permit services 4.0, military 2.1, NGOs 3.0 and religious bodies 2.9 (2005 figures).

[Information compiled from: BBC 1 Nov. 2006.; The Europa World Year Book 2006 2006, 2122-2180; India 1949, Art. 19(1); Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 504-520; Political Parties of the World 2005, 291-301; Transparency International 2005 and 2006; UN 2006; ibid. Jan. 2004; US 14 Nov. 2006]

[A] The HDI is a composite measurement of human development in a country, based on life expectancy, levels of literacy and education, and standard of living. Values are: 0.800 and higher (high human development), 0.500-0.799 (medium human development) and 0.500 and under (low development index). Countries are ranked in descending order by their HDI value. [back]

[B] The GDI adjusts the rating of the HDI to reflect inequalities between men and women [back]

[C] The Transparency International CPI is based on composite survey data from 16 polls and 10 independent institutions. The data reflects the perceptions of resident and non-resident business people and country analysts. Scores range from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (highly clean). According to their score, countries are ranked in order from least corrupt (1) to most corrupt (159) [back]

[D] The Transparency International GCB is a public opinion survey used to gauge people's perceptions of corruption within their own state [back]

2. POLITICAL BACKGROUND

In February 2005, the government of Goa, led by the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), was dismissed by the Governor.3 The BJP subsequently threatened legal action claiming that the Governor had unconstitutionally dismissed the government.4 Because of the controversy, Goa was placed under the President's control.5 In June 2005, the President's rule over Goa came to an end as Congress was able to obtain a majority in the state legislature following elections in Goa.6

In May 2005, the Bihar Legislative Assembly was dissolved by the President.7 In July, the President's rule was extended for another six months and the BJP won the majority of seats following elections in October and November.8 In January 2006, the Governor of Bihar gave his resignation after the Supreme Court condemned his support of the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly; he was replaced by the Governor of West Bengal who took responsibility of this additional state.9

The Minister of External Affairs, K. Natwar Singh, was forced to resign from his position at the end of 2005 following an investigation of the United Nations' "oil for food" program in Iraq, indicating that he was involved in corrupt practices.10 Singh, having accepted a position of minister without portfolio, stepped down after the BJP refused to conduct business unless Singh was removed.11 In December 2005, the parliament expelled 11 legislators, 6 of whom were from the BJP, as there were videos showing them accepting bribes, allegedly in exchange for raising certain questions before the chamber.12

In February 2005, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), a militant Maoist group demanding the secession of the State of Assam from India and known for its use of violence for the advancement of its cause, demonstrated interest in having peaceful negotiations with the government.13 In February 2006, peaceful negotiations between ULFA and the government were held and the government agreed to implement "confidence-building measures, including the potential release of some imprisoned ULFA rebels."14

Similarly, the National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Issak Muivah (NSCN-IM), a rebel organization demanding "the creation of a 'greater Nagaland'," held negotiations with the state's government in late 2002 and early 2003.15 In February 2003, state elections were held and rebels from two branches of the NSCN allegedly kidnapped around 300 political workers, most of whom were Congress supporters, to prevent them from voting.16 Negotiations continued between February and July 2005.17 In January 2006, the NSCN-IM participated in negotiations with government officials regarding an extension of the cease-fire, which was then extended by six months.18 However, the NSCN-IM continued to insist on creating a "greater Nagaland," which resulted in little progress made during the negotiations.19

The People's War Group, a faction of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), had been promoting a "sporadic violent campaign" in the state of Andhra Pradesh since 1980, advocating a communist state encompassing the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.20 In June 2004, a cease-fire agreement was reached between the state's government and the People's War Group.21 In July 2004, the ban imposed on the group was lifted, and, in September, the People's War Group merged with the Maoist Communist Centre and became the Communist Party of India (Maoist).22 The negotiations began in October 2004 but came to halt in January 2005 as the rebels accused the government of breaching the cease-fire agreement when some of their members were killed by police.23 Violence ensued and a new ban was imposed on the Communist Party of India (Maoist) in August 2005, following the killing of 9 people by the rebels.24

3. POLITICAL PARTIES

Indian National Congress (INC): The INC was founded in 1885.25 In 1969, the party split into two factions and the Indian National Congress - Organization (INC-O) became India's first official opposition party.26 In 1977, Indira Gandhi, the leader at that time, lost her seat during the election and subsequently created a new national opposition party called the Indian National Congress - Indira (INC-I), or Congress (I).27 In 1981, the INCI was declared to be the "real" Congress28 by the Election Commission and the name of Congress (I) has continued to be used widely since then.29 In December 1984, Congress (I) won 401 of 508 seats in the lower house, however, it only retained 193 seats in the November 1989 election, which forced the party into opposition.30 In 1991, Congress (I) won 223 seats enabling it to form a minority government.31 In January 1998, Congress (I) was the largest opposition party with 141 seats, and, in March, Sonia Gandhi was named as the party's leader.32 In the September-October 1999 elections for the People's Assembly, the party won 114 seats with Sonia Gandhi as leader of the opposition.33 The INC won 145 seats in the People's Assembly in the 2004 elections.34 Subsequently, Sonia Gandhi announced that she would not serve as prime minister and she nominated Manmohan Singh as prime minister, the first Sikh and non-Hindu to hold that office.35

Indian People's Party (Bharatiya Janata party, BJP): The BJP is a right-wing Hindu36 nationalist party37 led by Atal Bihari (or Behari) Vajpayee.38 It was founded in 1980 by members of the Janata's Jana Sangh group.39 The BJP won 88 seats at the People's Assembly elections in 1989 and 119 seats in the 1991 elections.40 The party formed a minority government in 1996 following elections in which it won 161 seats.41 In 1998, the BJP became the majority party with 181 seats and in 1999, it won 182 seats.42 In May 2001, the Progressive Manipur State Congress Party (PMSCP) merged with the BJP.43 The BJP formed a coalition with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) in May 2002; however the partnership disintegrated in August 2003.44 The party retained 22 percent of the vote during the 2004 People's Assembly elections; however, as of July 2005, the BJP led the governments in: Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.45

Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M): The CPI-M was established in 1964 by members of the Communist Party of India (CPI), supporting a more leftist radical line.46 The CPI-M is led by Harkishan Singh Surjit.47 In 1969, some pro-Chinese members withdrew from the party and formed the Communist Party of India - Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML).48 During the People's Assembly elections of 1998, the CPI-M retained the 32 seats it had won in the 1996 elections, and, in 1999, it won 33 seats.49 The number of seats went up to 43 following the 2004 general elections.50 The CPI-M holds a majority in the states of Tripura and West Bengal.51

Socialist Party (Samajwadi, SP): The SP was established in 1992 and is led by Mulayam Singh Yadav.52 In 1993, the party formed an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party, which disintegrated in June 1995.53 The SP retained 20 seats in 1998, 26 in 1999 and 36 in 2004 - 35 of those in Uttar Pradesh.54

National People's Party (or Rashtriya Janata Dal, RJD): The RJD was established in 1997 in Bihar55 as a breakaway faction of the Janata Dal (JD).56 In March 1998, the RJD won 17 seats in Bihar.57 In the 1999 election, the party only retained seven seats in the People's Assembly, but, it won a plurality of legislative seats in February 2000.58 The RJD obtained 21 seats in 2004; however, it was no longer in power in Bihar as of February 2005.59

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP): According to Political Parties of the World, the BSP "represents India's low caste Dalits (formerly Harijans or 'untouchables')" and is led by Kanshi Ram and Kumari Mayawati.60 The BSP won 11 seats in 1996, 5 in 1998 and 14 in 1999.61 The BSP formed a coalition with the BJP in May 2002, however the partnership disintegrated in August 2003 as allegations were made that the chief minister Kumari Mayawati was involved in corruption.62 The party retained 19 seats in the People's Assembly and 5 seats in the Council of States following the 2004 general election.63

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK): The DMK, established in 1949, is "an anti-Brahmin regional party dedicated to the promotion of Tamil interests and more autonomy for the states"64 and is against keeping Hindi as an official language.65 It is led by Muthuvel Karunanidhi.66 The DMK held power in Tamil Nadu from 1989 to 1991.67 In 1996, the DMK won 17 seats in the People's Assembly.68 The party won 6 seats in the 1998 elections and 12 in 1999 after having joined several other Tamil Nadu parties.69 In January 2004, the DMK supported the Congress and retained 16 seats in the People's Assembly.70

Shiv Sena (SS): The SS was established in 196771 and is led by Balashaheb (Bal) Thackeray.72 Shiv Sena, meaning "Army of Shivaji,"73 is a right-wing Hindu communalist party with some affiliation with the BJP.74 In 1993, the party's leader, Bal Thackeray, was investigated for "incitement of communal Hindu-Muslim violence;" however, no charges were laid. The new administration tried to prosecute Thackeray for these offences in 2000, but was unsuccessful due to the statute of limitations.75 The party won 6 seats in 1998 and 15 seats in 1999.76 Following the elections of 2004, the SS secured 12 seats in the People's Assembly and 5 in the Council of States.77

Biju Janata Dal (BJD): The BJD was established in December 1997 and is led by Naveen Patnaik.78 The BJD is the main division of the Janata Dal (JD) in the state of Orissa.79 The party won 9 seats in the People's Assembly in 1998 and 10 in 1999.80 Following the 2004 elections, the BJD secured 11 seats in the People's Assembly, 3 seats in the Council of States and won 61 out of 147 seats in the Orissa state assembly.81 It is the leading party in the state of Orissa.82

Communist Party of India (CPI): The CPI was established in 1925.83 It is led by Ardhendu Bhushan Bardhan.84 The party won 13 seats in 1991 and 12 in May 1996 in the People's Assembly.85 In the general elections of 1998 and 1999, the party won 9 and 4 seats, respectively.86 Following the 2004 elections, the CPI secured 10 seats in the People's Assembly and 2 seats in the Council of States.87 Subsequently, the party announced that it would not join a Congress (I) coalition, although it would still support the government.88

National Congress Party (NCP): The NCP was established in 1999 when it split from the INC - Congress (I) and is led by Sharad Pawar.89 The NCP formed a coalition with the Congress (I) in the state of Maharashtra to oust the ruling SS and BJP.90 In January 2004, the party divided into two factions, one of which, led by Pawar, formed an alliance with Congress (I) for the 2004 general elections.91 Following the 2004 elections, the NCP won nine seats in the People's Assembly and two in the Council of States.92

Janata Dal United (JDU): The JDU was established in 1988 following the amalgamation of the Janata (People's) grouping, Jan Morcha (People's Front) and Lok Dal (also People's Party).93 It is led by George Fernandes.94 The party's goal was to eliminate unemployment, poverty and wide disparities in wealth, as well as to fight for minorities' rights.95

Akali Religious Party (Shiromani Akali Dal, SAD): The SAD, led by Prakash Singh Badal, "is the main political organization of India's Sikh community, which is concentrated in Punjab."96 In 1996, the party won eight seats at the People's Assembly and retained the same number of seats in the 1998 elections.97 It was reduced to two seats in the October 1999 elections.98 Following the 2004 elections, the SAD retained two seats in the Council of States and eight in the People's Assembly.99

Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK): The PMK was established in 1997 and is led by S. Ramdoss100 (or S. Ramadoss101). The party represents the interests of the Vanniyar caste mostly located in the northern part of the state of Tamil Nadu.102 The PMK won three seats in the People's Assembly elections of 1998 and five in 1999.103 The party held six seats in the People's Assembly following the 2004 elections.104

Telugu Desam Party (TDP): The TDP is based in Andhra Pradesh and was established in 1982 by Nadmuri Tarak (N.T.) Rama Rao.105 The party is led by N. Chandrababu Naidu.106 From 1983 to 1989, the TDP constituted the ruling party in Andhra Pradesh and it regained power in 1994.107 In 1995, the TDP split into two factions, one led by Rao and the other by Naidu.108 In January 1996, following Rao's death, his wife, Lakshmi Parvati, took over leadership of his faction.109 In 1996, the Naidu faction won 16 seats in the People's Assembly while the Parvati faction won no seats.110 By the 1998 general election, Naidu had established leadership of the party and won 12 seats.111 In 1999, the party won 29 seats.112 In the 2004 elections, the TDP won 5 seats in the People's Assembly, 8 seats in the Council of States and 45 of the 294 seats in Andhra Pradesh.113

Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS): The TRS was established in April 2001 by former members of the TDP and is led by K. Chandrashekar Rao.114 In 2003, the party started advocating for a separate state in the region of Telangana in the South of Andhra Pradesh.115 In the 2004 elections, the TRS retained 5 seats in the People's Assembly and 26 seats in Andhra Pradesh in the simultaneous state elections.116 Following the elections, the TRS joined the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).117

Jharkhand Liberation Front (Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, JMM): The JMM was established in 1980 "to represent the tribal people of Bihar and Orissa" and is led by Shibu Soren.118 The JMM won six seats in 1991, two in 1996 and none in 1998 or 1999.119 In 2000, the JMM participated in the creation of a new Jharkhand regional state formed from parts of Bihar and Orissa.120 Following the 2004 elections, the party won five seats in the People's Assembly and none in the Council of States.121 Soren, who was acting as minister of coal and mines, had to resign in late July 2004 after an arrest warrant was issued for his alleged involvement in a 1975 riot in which 10 people were killed.122 In November 2004, he returned to cabinet, but resigned again in March 2005, after an unsuccessful attempt to become chief minister of Jharkhand.123

All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK): The AIADMK, a Tamil party, was founded in 1972 as a breakaway faction of the DMK and is led by Jayalalitha Jayaram.124 It was the ruling party in Tamil Nadu from 1977 to 1989 and from 1991 to 1996.125 Following a coalition with the Congress (I), the party won 11 seats in the People's Assembly in 1991.126 The AIADMK went on to win 4 seats in 1996, 18 seats in 1998 and 10 seats in 1999.127 Jayalalitha Jayaram, who was accused of corruption, was sentenced to prison in 2000 and was banned from participating in the 2001 state elections.128 In 2003, she was acquitted of the charges on appeal.129 In 2004, the party, which had formed an alliance with the BJP, did not retain any seats in the People's Assembly.130

Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK): The MDMK is a breakaway faction of the DMK led by Vaiko131 and is a strong Tamil nationalist party.132 The MDMK is "occasionally accused of being too close to Sri Lanka's separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)."133 In 1998, the party formed an alliance with the AIADMK and won three seats in the People's Assembly.134 In 1999, the party severed its ties with the AIADMK to join the DMK and won four seats.135 This second alliance was broken in 2001.136 In the 2004 elections, the MDMK won four seats.137 In April 2006, the MDMK formed an alliance with the AIADMK.138

Other parties:

Akali Religious Party (Mann) (Shiromani Akali Dal [Mann], SAD(M)),139 Akhil Bharatiya Loktantrik Congress (ABLC),140 All-India Forward Bloc (AIFB),141 All-India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM),142 All-India Trinamool Congress (AITC),143 All Parties Hurriyet Conference (PHC),144 Arunachal Congress (AC),145 Assam People's Council (Asom Gana Parishad, AGP),146 Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC),147 Bharatiya Navshakti Party (BNP),148 Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation (CPI-ML),149 Haryana Vikas Party (HVP),150 Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP),151 Himachal Vikas Congress,152 Indian Federal Democratic Party (IFDP),153 Indian National Lok Dal,154 Indian Union Muslim League (IUML),155 Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC),156 Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (JKPDP),157 Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S),158 Janata Party (JP),159 Karnataka Congress Party (KCP),160 Kerala Congress (KC),161 Kerala Congress-M,162 Lok Janshakti Party (LJP),163 Lok Shakti,164 Madhya Pradesh Vikas Congress (MPVC),165 Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP),166 Manipur People's Party (MPP),167 Manipur State Congress Party (MACP),168 Mizo National Front (MNF),169 Nagaland People's Front (NPF),170 National Conference (NC),171 National Democratic Alliance (NDA),172 National Loktantrik Party (NLP),173 Nationalist Trinamul Congress (NTC),174 Peasants' and Workers' Party of India (PWPI),175 Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD),176 Republican Party of India (RPI),177 Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP),178 Samajwadi Janata Party (Rashtriya) (SJP-R),179 Samata Party,180 Sikkim Campaign Council (Sikkim Sangram Parishad, SSP),181 Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF),182 Sikkim Revolutionary Forum (Sikkim Sangram Parishad, SSP),183 Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC),184 United Communist Party of India (UCPI),185 United Front (UF)186 and United Progressive Alliance (UPA).187

4. ARMED GROUPS AND OTHER NON-STATE ACTORS

Hizb-ul-Mujaheddin (HuM): The HuM "is the largest of the Islamic militant organizations seeking separation of Jammu and Kashmir from India and establishment of a fundamentalist regime."188 It is led by Syed Salahuddin, was established in 1990 and claims to be an "exclusively Kashmiri organization."189

United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA): The ULFA is led by Paresh Barua and was founded in 1979.190 It is based in the north eastern region and is the region's most organized and largest separatist organization.191 In the 1990's, the ULFA began operating camps in Bhutan, however, in 2003 and 2004, the Royal Bhutanese Army started a campaign to eliminate the presence of the ULFA in Bhutan; they destroyed the ULFA camps in Bhutan and captured several ULFA leaders.192 Consequently, the organization dispersed to the states of Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.193 For the current status of the ULFA, see section 2.

5. FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 came into force in India on 26 October 2006.194 This legislation criminalizes domestic violence, including marital rape, provides for punishments of one-year imprisonment and a fine of INR 20,000 (equivalent to CAD 498195) and enables the courts to place women in safe custody196 and to issue "stop violence" orders.197

ENDNOTES

1 Canada 20 Nov. 2006. [back]

2 Ibid. 21 Nov. 2006. [back]

3 The Europa World Year Book 2006 2006, 2128. [back]

4 Ibid. [back]

5 Ibid., 2128-2129. [back]

6 Ibid., 2129. [back]

7 Ibid. [back]

8 Ibid. [back]

9 Ibid. [back]

10 Ibid. [back]

11 Ibid. [back]

12 Ibid. [back]

13 Ibid., 2130. [back]

14 Ibid. [back]

15 Ibid. [back]

16 Ibid. [back]

17 Ibid. [back]

18 Ibid. [back]

19 Ibid. [back]

20 Ibid., 2131. [back]

21 Ibid. [back]

22 Ibid. [back]

23 Ibid. [back]

24 Ibid. [back]

25 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 511; Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 295. [back]

26 Ibid.; Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 511. [back]

27 Ibid. [back]

28 Ibid. [back]

29 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 295. [back]

30 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 511. [back]

31 Ibid. [back]

32 Ibid. [back]

33 Ibid. [back]

34 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 295. [back]

35 Ibid., 296. [back]

36 The Europa World Year Book 2006 2006, 2150. [back]

37 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 293. [back]

38 Ibid.; Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 513. [back]

39 Ibid. [back]

40 Ibid. [back]

41 Ibid. [back]

42 Ibid. [back]

43 Ibid. [back]

44 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 293. [back]

45 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 513. [back]

46 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 294. [back]

47 Ibid. [back]

48 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 515. [back]

49 Ibid. [back]

50 Ibid. [back]

51 Ibid. [back]

52 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 297; Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 515. [back]

53 Ibid. [back]

54 Ibid. [back]

55 Ibid., 512. [back]

56 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 297. [back]

57 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 512. [back]

58 Ibid. [back]

59 Ibid. [back]

60 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 293. [back]

61 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 515. [back]

62 Ibid., 516. [back]

63 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 293. [back]

64 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 512. [back]

65 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 294. [back]

66 Ibid. [back]

67 Ibid. [back]

68 Ibid. [back]

69 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 512. [back]

70 Ibid. [back]

71 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 298. [back]

72 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 513. [back]

73 Ibid. [back]

74 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 298. [back]

75 Ibid. [back]

76 Ibid. [back]

77 Ibid. [back]

78 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 513. [back]

79 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 294. [back]

80 Ibid. [back]

81 Ibid. [back]

82 Ibid. [back]

83 Ibid. [back]

84 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 515. [back]

85 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 294. [back]

86 Ibid. [back]

87 Ibid. [back]

88 Ibid. [back]

89 Ibid., 296. [back]

90 Ibid., 297. [back]

91 Ibid. [back]

92 Ibid. [back]

93 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 514. [back]

94 Ibid. [back]

95 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 296. [back]

96 Ibid., 298. [back]

97 Ibid. [back]

98 Ibid. [back]

99 Ibid. [back]

100 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 512. [back]

101 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 297. [back]

102 Ibid. [back]

103 Ibid. [back]

104 Ibid. [back]

105 Ibid., 298. [back]

106 Ibid. [back]

107 Ibid. [back]

108 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 298. [back]

109 Ibid. [back]

110 Ibid. [back]

111 Ibid. [back]

112 Ibid. [back]

113 Ibid. [back]

114 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 512. [back]

115 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 301. [back]

116 Ibid. [back]

117 Ibid. [back]

118 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 512. [back]

119 Ibid. [back]

120 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 300. [back]

121 Ibid. [back]

122 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 512. [back]

123 Ibid. [back]

124 Ibid., 515. [back]

125 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 292. [back]

126 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 515. [back]

127 Ibid. [back]

128 Ibid. [back]

129 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 293 [back]

130 Ibid. [back]

131 Ibid., 296. [back]

132 Ibid., 512. [back]

133 Ibid. [back]

134 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 296. [back]

135 Ibid. [back]

136 Ibid. [back]

137 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 513. [back]

138 The Telegraph 18 Apr. 2006; Rediff.com 6 Mar. 2006; ibid. 4 Mar. 2006. [back]

139 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 516. [back]

140 Ibid. [back]

141 Ibid., 299. [back]

142 Ibid. [back]

143 Ibid., 293. [back]

144 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 517. [back]

145 Ibid., 516. [back]

146 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 299. [back]

147 Ibid. [back]

148 Ibid. [back]

149 Ibid. [back]

150 Ibid. [back]

151 Ibid. [back]

152 Ibid. [back]

153 Ibid. [back]

154 Ibid. [back]

155 Ibid. [back]

156 Ibid. [back]

157 Ibid., 300. [back]

158 Ibid. [back]

159 Ibid. [back]

160 Ibid. [back]

161 Ibid. [back]

162 Ibid. [back]

163 Ibid. [back]

164 Ibid. [back]

165 Ibid. [back]

166 Ibid. [back]

167 Ibid. [back]

168 Ibid. [back]

169 Ibid. [back]

170 Ibid. [back]

171 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 516. [back]

172 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 296. [back]

173 Ibid., 301. [back]

174 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 515. [back]

175 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 301. [back]

176 Ibid. [back]

177 Ibid. [back]

178 Ibid., 297. [back]

179 Ibid., 301. [back]

180 Ibid., 297. [back]

181 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 517. [back]

182 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 301. [back]

183 Ibid. [back]

184 Ibid. [back]

185 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 517. [back]

186 Political Parties of the World 24 Jan. 2005, 298. [back]

187 Ibid. [back]

188 Political Handbook of the World: 2005-2006 2006, 518. [back]

189 Ibid. [back]

190 Ibid. [back]

191 Ibid. [back]

192 Ibid. [back]

193 Ibid. [back]

194 The Daily Telegraph 27 October 2006. [back]

195 Canada 26 October 2006. [back]

196 The Daily Telegraph 27 October 2006. [back]

197 The Indian Express 31 October 2006. [back]

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