The United Nations human rights experts on Thursday urged the Indian government to prohibit advocacy of religious hatred, including incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence, and protect the religious freedom of minorities by repealing anti-conversion and anti-blasphemy laws.

The experts appealed to New Delhi to prevent vigilante violence and ensure accountability for crimes committed.

A joint statement issued by the United Nations special rapporteurs, independent experts and working groups said that the Indian government should adopt anti-discriminatory laws “with the participation of all disadvantaged groups, including women and men from marginalised caste systems, such as Dalits”.

Further, the experts urged the government to adopt measures against gender-based discrimination and violence against women and girls and respond effectively to the needs of survivors of these crimes.

The experts appealed to the government to “prevent and punish demolitions of homes and arbitrary displacement of minorities”. The government should also take steps to prevent arbitrary displacements that are generated by development [of] mega-projects, the statement added.

It also asked the government to address the risk of statelessness for people of Bengali descent in Assam.

The experts asked the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prevent “misuse” of investigative agencies like the Enforcement Directorate against civil society activists and groups and bring such central agencies under “proper oversight and control”. “Create and promote an enabling environment for civil society to operate, and publicly recognise the important role civil society plays in the betterment of society,” the statement read.

The experts also urged the Indian government to create a conducive atmosphere, including by preventing the misuse of official resources for partisan purposes, to ensure that the elections this year are free and fair.

The experts also called on India to cooperate with the United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, reveal the whereabouts of those who were forcibly disappeared and implement the measures recommended by the panel.