Skip to main content

India, Pakistan "think alike" on foreign NGOs like Amnesty, which focus on human rights issues of Balochistan

By Our Representative
A former high-profile Government of India official is all set to create a flutter by pointing out that Prime Minister Narendra Modi may have taken up the cause of Balochistan, yet the “credit for spreading universal publicity on human rights abuses in Balochistan goes to the London-based Amnesty International”, under attack in India.
Noting that the same Amnesty “paradoxically is now facing our Union Home Ministry’s close attention”, Valappa Balachandran, ex-special secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, has said, “It is odd that both Pakistan and India think alike on foreign NGOs like Amnesty."
An national security intelligence specialist and a former Indian police officer, Balachandran served 17 years in Maharashtra, and 19 years in foreign intelligence service. He retired as special secretary, Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India, in 1995. and is based in Mumbai.
Recently, in India Amnesty has been charged with sedition by Hindu fundamentalists for arranging a Kashmir meeting in Bengaluru, recalls Balachandran, pointing out that it is the same organization which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977.
“Its 2015-16 annual report said that ‘in April, a human rights activist Sabeen Mahmud was killed after hosting a discussion on Balochistan at her cafe in Karachi. Her driver, a key witness, subsequently was shot dead, despite the Sindh Witness Protection Act 2013 that was passed to protect witnesses’,” Balachandran says.
Pointing our similarity of attacks in India and Pakistan on civil rights organizations, Balachandran says, “In January 2015 India prevented a Greenpeace campaigner from going to UK for attending a conference. Amnesty reported that three Baloch activists were prevented in March 2015 at Karachi from going to USA to attend a joint meeting of Baluch and Sindhi activists.”
Quoting Amnesty, the ex-official says, “In October 2015 Pakistan asked all NGOs to register and obtain permission from the Ministry of Interior for carrying on activities. On August 13, 2016 our Home Ministry asked Amnesty to get a licence to receive funds from abroad.”
Suggesting that all this “might be a coincidence”, Balachandran says, but still it is “relevant at a time when we take the initiative to point out other countries’ human rights abuses.”
According to the ex-official, “As signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the UN General Assembly’s (UNGA) International Covenant on Civil & Political Rights (1966-1976) we have certain obligations specified in UNGA Resolution 53/144 dated 1998.”
He adds, “Article 5 of the resolution recognizes the rights of individuals to form, join and participate in NGOs, associations or groups and to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations.”
Insisting that “this brings us to our own human rights situation”, Balachandran says, “Daily news headlines like ‘India blinding young Kashmiri protestors’ (The Guardian UK) ‘HC seeks details about people blinded, injured in the valley’ (Kashmir Reader), ‘Lecturer beaten to death in Kashmir; army regrets killing, orders probe’ (Mumbai Mirror) and ‘BJP worker killed by Cow vigilantes’ (The Hindu) do not give any credit to our own human rights situation.”
“Merely transferring the blame for the situation in the Valley on Pakistan is no solution”, he underlines, adding, “Are we sure that things in the Kashmir Valley will become normal if Pakistan, under international pressure, stops its interference?”
Balachandran wonders, “A guide to a resolution of the present Kashmir impasse could be what a non-political professional had suggested on August 19. Lt Gen DS Hooda, Northern Army Commander had said that everybody who is involved including separatists should ‘sit down, put our heads together’.”
Asking “Can We Really Put Pakistan on the Defensive On Human Rights Now?”, Balachandran says, “We cannot reject participation of ‘separatists’ who live within our borders. If we do, we will be no better than Pakistan. Why are we having discussions with Naga groups who still do not proclaim allegiance to our Constitution?”

Comments

TRENDING

Bill Gates as funder, author, editor, adviser? Data imperialism: manipulating the metrics

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD*  When Mahatma Gandhi on invitation from Buckingham Palace was invited to have tea with King George V, he was asked, “Mr Gandhi, do you think you are properly dressed to meet the King?” Gandhi retorted, “Do not worry about my clothes. The King has enough clothes on for both of us.”

Stagnating wages since 2014-15: Economists explain Modi legacy for informal workers

By Our Representative  Real wages have barely risen in India since 2014-15, despite rapid GDP growth. The country’s social security system has also stagnated in this period. The lives of informal workers remain extremely precarious, especially in states like Jharkhand where casual employment is the main source of livelihood for millions. These are some of the findings presented by economists Jean Drèze and Reetika Khera at a press conference convened by the Loktantra Bachao 2024 campaign. 

Displaced from Bangladesh, Buddhist, Hindu groups without citizenship in Arunachal

By Sharma Lohit  Buddhist Chakma and Hindu Hajongs were settled in the 1960s in parts of Changlang and Papum Pare district of Arunachal Pradesh after they had fled Chittagong Hill Tracts of present Bangladesh following an ethnic clash and a dam disaster. Their original population was around 5,000, but at present, it is said to be close to one lakh.

Anti-Rupala Rajputs 'have no support' of numerically strong Kshatriya communities

By Rajiv Shah  Personally, I have no love lost for Purshottam Rupala, though I have known him ever since I was posted as the Times of India representative in Gandhinagar in 1997, from where I was supposed to do political reporting. In news after he made the statement that 'maharajas' succumbed to foreign rulers, including the British, and even married off their daughters them, there have been large Rajput rallies against him for “insulting” the community.

What's Bill Gates up to? Have 'irregularities' found in funding HPV vaccine trials faded?

By Colin Gonsalves*  After having read the 72nd report of the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccines by PATH in India, it was startling to see Bill Gates bobbing his head up and down and smiling ingratiatingly on prime time television while the Prime Minister lectured him in Hindi on his plans for the country. 

Magnetic, stunning, Protima Bedi 'exposed' malice of sexual repression in society

By Harsh Thakor*  Protima Bedi was born to a baniya businessman and a Bengali mother as Protima Gupta in Delhi in 1949. Her father was a small-time trader, who was thrown out of his family for marrying a dark Bengali women. The theme of her early life was to rebel against traditional bondage. It was extraordinary how Protima underwent a metamorphosis from a conventional convent-educated girl into a freak. On October 12th was her 75th birthday; earlier this year, on August 18th it was her 25th death anniversary.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

India's "welcome" proposal to impose sin tax on aerated drinks is part of to fight growing sugar consumption

By Amit Srivastava* A proposal to tax sugar sweetened beverages like tobacco in India has been welcomed by public health advocates. The proposal to increase sin taxes on aerated drinks is part of the recommendations made by India’s Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian on the upcoming Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill in the parliament of India.

Turkey meet tries to 'resurrect' Maoism, seeks to apply people’s war concept universally

By Harsh Thakor*  An International Maoist Symposium was organized by Umut Publishing on 6-7th April in Turkey commemorating 130th birthday of Mao Tse Tung. On the first day of the symposium two sessions were staged. The first session started with Volkan Yaraşır’s presentation on “Dialectics of the Chinese Revolution and Mao Zedong”.

IMA vs Ramdev: Why what's good or bad for goose should be good or bad for gander

By Dr Amitav Banerjee, MD* Baba Ramdev and his associate Balkrishna faced the wrath of the Supreme Court for their propaganda about their Ayurvedic products and belittling mainstream medicine. Baba Ramdev had to apologize in court. His apology was not accepted and he may face the contempt of court with harsher punishment. The Supreme Court acted on a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).