Skip to main content

Undeclared emergency enforced by governments at centre, states, also by aggressive army of “proud Indians”

Counterview Desk 
Several civil rights organizations have decided to hold a national meet of human rights defenders on March 22-23, 2017, at Rajendra Bhavan, New Delhi. The seminar has been organized by PEACE in association with INSAF, PCSDS, HRDA, others. A concept note ahead of the high-level meet under the banner “Reclaiming Rights, Asserting Freedoms”:
Thousands of activists and human rights defenders are struggling to survive the suspension of constitutional rights and rule of law that defines the political climate in India today. This undeclared emergency is being enforced not only by the governments at the centre and in the States, but by an aggressive army of “proud Indians” who have bought into a distorted, monochromatic and ahistorical idea of the nation.
In this supposedly patriotic world-view, India is seen as the most glorious civilisation imaginable, reaching unprecedented heights of progress under a leader who can do no wrong. Anyone who refuses to swallow this idea and uncritically support each new prescription for economic, political and social “vikaas” is anti-national by definition.
Anyone who questions the wisdom of the rulers and their diktats is a dangerous threat to the nation, and a legitimate target for violence unleashed by the state as well as by vigilante gangs of “patriots” who operate with the encouragement and blessing of the state.
These so-called “offences against the nation” cover a wide range of acts. Challenging government policies; using instruments such as the RTI Act or the SC/ST Atrocities Act; challenging misuse of power by caste, class or political elites; mobilising to resist forcible eviction or land acquisition; publicly protesting violations of rights and freedoms; investigating police violence such as rape, sexual assault, torture, encounters and custodial deaths; seeking justice for state-sponsored violence; following one’s own choices and inclinations in personal spaces such as bedrooms and kitchens, or even failing to stand for the national anthem – all these have become risky and life-threatening acts in India today.
A toxic political climate has been created and normalised, in which the Constitution itself is no longer sacrosanct. Democratic rights and freedoms guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution - right to equality and dignity, right to dissent, right to equal treatment before the law, freedom of association, freedom of expression, freedom of movement - are now identified as the greatest threats to democracy.
Those who insist on demanding, claiming, upholding and protecting these rights and freedoms are identified as dangerous and seditious enemies of the state, to be silenced and suppressed by any means.
No effort is spared in the mission of silencing and suppressing these defenders of rights and freedoms, whether social activists, journalists and writers, lawyers, leaders of movements, researchers and academics, whistleblowers, NGOs and professional associations. They are targeted with murderous attacks, hounded and slandered.
Rape, sexual assault and sexual violence are the patriotic prescriptions for women activists. Draconian laws for “maintenance of order” and “public security” are invoked to arrest and incarcerate human rights defenders as “terrorists”, “Maoist sympathisers” or simply “traitors”.
They are subjected to torture and sexual violence in jail. Their families are threatened and attacked by goon squads. False cases and concocted charges are foisted on them, and they face torture and mistreatment in prison. Their families are ostracised and often reduced to penury.
Lawyers are prevented from fighting their cases. Trolls pursue and attack them online and on social media. Their attackers both in and out of uniform are protected by their political affiliations and flaunt their impunity.
Democratic institutions are being systematically undermined and destroyed. Universities are being re-conceptualised as indoctrination centres where unpatriotic tendencies of rationality, independent thinking and critical questioning are discouraged.
Obedient robots are given charge of cultural and academic institutions, where they are busily erasing the boundaries between myth and history, science and superstition, justice and appeasement. Parliament, the courts and human rights institutions are treated with open contempt by the rulers and are increasingly reduced to mute bystanders and helpless witnesses to the attempted murder of democracy.
But resistance is alive. Despite the concerted campaign to silence and suppress them, thousands of human rights defenders, students, activists and concerned citizens continue to stand their ground and are fighting to assert, protect and claim the rig hts and freedoms granted by the Constitution.
* Let us come together to affirm and celebrate our solidarity, commitment and collective strength, and chart the way forward.
* We will not remain isolated!
* We will not remain silent!
* We will not allow this situation to continue!

Comments

TRENDING

'Enough evidence': Covid vaccines impacted women's reproductive health

By Deepika*  In 2024, the news outlets have suddenly started reporting about covid vaccine side effects in a very extensive manner. Sadly, the damage is already done.

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. 

Dadi, poti discuss 'injustice' under 10 yr Modi rule: Video campaign goes viral

By Our Representative  Watan Ki Raah Mein, a civil society campaign of the Samvidhan Bachao Nagrik Abhiyan, has released a short video conversation on social media of an exchange of letters between a dadi and her poti discussing poverty, unemployment, corruption and women’s safety. The letters also raise the question of  suppression of our fundamental rights of speech, expression and justice. 

US 'frustrated' with India’s discomfort: Maritime exercise in South China Sea

By Vijay Prashad*  In early April 2024, the navies of four countries -- Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States -- held a maritime exercise in the South China Sea. Australia’s Warramunga, Japan’s Akebono, the Philippines’ Antonio Luna, and the United States’ Mobile worked together in these waters to strengthen their joint abilities and -- as they said in a joint statement  -- to “uphold the right to freedom of navigation and overflight and respect for maritime rights under international law.” 

WHO move can 'enable' India to detain citizens, restrict freedom, control media

Counterview Desk  In an an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, with copies to concerned Cabinet ministers, bureaucrats and MPs,  health rights network  People’s Alliance for Public Health (PAPH alias JanSwasthya Morcha), has urged that India should not be a signatory to the World Health Organization ( WHO) Pandemic Agreement and Amendments to the  International Health Regulations (IHR) 2005  to be adopted at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva from 27th May to 1st June, 2024.

'Uncertainty in Iran': Raisi brokered crucial Chabahar Port deal with India

By Pranjal Pandey*  Ebrahim Raisi, the Iranian President, and the country’s foreign minister were tragically found deceased on May 20, 2024, shortly after their helicopter crashed in foggy conditions. In response, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei swiftly appointed a relatively unknown vice president as the interim leader.

Informal, outdoor workers 'excluded': Govt of India's excessive heat policies

Counterview Desk  Top civil rights network, National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), has demanded urgent government action to protect millions of outdoor workers from extreme heat and heatwaves, insisting declaration of heatwaves as climatic disaster.