Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 12 October urged people not to be “selective” while raising issues of human rights, as he delivered his speech at the 28th anniversary function of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Addressing the ceremony virtually, he said that though “some people” saw human rights violation in a particular incident, they would ignore violation of such rights in other, similar cases.
“There is an aspect of human rights that I want to discuss today. These days, we see that people have started interpreting human rights in a way that benefits them. However, these rights are grossly violated when these are looked at from a political lens. This selective behaviour is harmful for our democracy,” Prime Minister Modi warned.
Such mentality harms the very concept of human rights as well, the prime minister said.
Prime Minister Modi drew an analogy between human rights and India’s independence movement, saying that the respect for human rights in the country was largely due to the long freedom struggle that the nation went through. “We fought for our rights across centuries and, as a country and society, always protested against injustice and tyranny,” Modi remarked.
India, he said, has always been “committed and sensitive” towards issues concerning human rights.
The National Human Rights Commission was established on 12 October 1993 for the promotion and protection of human rights. The body, which is currently headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, Justice Arun Mishra, takes cognisance of any form of human rights violation, conducts inquiries and, if the violation is established, recommends various remedial and legal measures.
Last year, one such international agency Amnesty shut its India operations, alleging ‘witch-hunt’ by the government, following investigation into its funding sources. The government agencies, however, maintained that Amnesty India was obtaining foreign remittances in an illegal manner.
Amnesty had released multiple reports critical of the government’s handling of Delhi riots in February 2020 and in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370. The authorities termed its assessment “lopsided, biased and malicious”.
Modi, Shah laud own initiatives, say govt protected policies protected human rights
In his speech, the prime minister cited a number of measures taken by his government to deliver basic needs like toilets, cooking gas, electricity and homes to the poor and said this gives rise to their aspirations and make them more aware of their rights.
He said by making a law against ‘triple talaq‘ (talaq-e-biddat), his government had bestowed new rights on Muslim women. The prime minister spoke also of the measures like 26-week maternity leave and a more stringent law for rape to highlight his dispensation’s empowerment of women.
Modi said freedom struggle and India’s history were big sources of inspiration and values for human rights.
The home minister said a government with an absolute majority had been formed in New Delhi for the first time in a long period in 2014 and, since then, it had been doing welfare work for the poor and deprived sections.
He said that after the Modi government came to power, 10 crore families were given toilets, thereby protecting the human rights of women, girls and all others.
Four crore families were given electricity connections, which is helpful for the old and children alike, 13 crore families were provided clean cooking gas connections that have helped in saving women and others from various diseases, he said.
Shah said the union government had built 2 crore houses for the poor while 5 crore more houses would be built soon.
Seven crore people were given financial assistance by the union government directly to their bank accounts, which were opened for the first time, Shah said.
Shah said the union government had launched an ambitious scheme to provide potable water to every household in the country and two crore families would be given clean water through pipes soon, thereby protecting their basic human rights.