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Indian Overseas Congress calls for free and fair elections

IOC claimed that the government was “weaponizing” the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards to silence NRI critics

Rajiv Gowda, George Abraham, Arathi Krishna, MM Hassan, Virendra Vashist, John Samuel / Image - IOC

The Indian Overseas Congress (IOC), the international arm of the Indian National Congress (INC), the major opposition party in the country, expressed the need for free and fair elections across India.

The 2024 General Lok Sabha elections commenced on Apr.19 and is currently underway. The seven-phase election will conclude on Jun.1 with the results to be declared on Jun.4.

In order to “provide transparency and auditing capabilities” during the elections the IOC said that it will continue its campaign to have Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines with every Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) during the elections.

A VVPAT machine is attached to the EVM and prints out a slip of paper with the voter’s choice indicated on it as soon as a vote is cast. The printed slip is visible for seven seconds for the voter to verify if their vote was cast correctly.

In a statement, the IOC claimed that the government was “weaponizing” the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards to silence its Non- Resident Indian critics.

The IOC also expressed its serious concerns over the dismantling of the institutions that provided stability and strength to India's constitution and serve the more significant public interests.

According to the body these institutions “are being systematically bullied or removed to the detriment of the common interests.” 

Finally, the IOC also highlighted the increasing attacks on minorities and their institutions by the government using tools like that Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that aimed to regulate foreign funding.

“The Indian Overseas Congress (IOC) is steadfast in its commitment to democracy, pluralism, and social justice. We stand as a voice for the voiceless, advocating for the rights and interests of the Indian diaspora and upholding the values that are the foundation of our organization,” a  statement read.

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