The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today urged the Government of India to grant political asylum to Edward Snowden, a former technical contractor of the National Security Agency (NSA) of the United States.
According to Wikileaks, Snowden has sought political asylum in 19 countries including India.
The United States is seeking extradition of Snowden after charging him under the Espionage Act for leaking information about a variety of classified intelligence programs, including the interception of US and European telephone metadata, PRISM and Tempora Internet surveillance programs by the NSA.
"Mr Snowden has exposed a crime committed by the United States officials in clear violation of the US laws on which US director of national intelligence, James Clapper had effectively lied before the US Senate Intelligence Committee on the issue. Mr Snowden is a whistleblower in classical sense and has exposed illegal acts of the United States because of his political belief. His disclosure has neither harmed anybody nor put any person at risks except himself but it has helped many governments to take necessary measures to ensure respect for the right to privacy of their citizens. Therefore, he deserves political asylum," said Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
"The Government of India, which has given asylum to leaders like His Holiness the Dalai Lama despite opposition from the Government of China, should also grant political asylum to Mr Snowden irrespective of the opposition of the United States. India should bear in mind that the United States has allowed former Joint Secretary of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) Mr Rabinder Singh to escape to the United States. Therefore, there is no reason as to why India cannot grant political asylum to Mr Snowden," he added.