Skip to main content

India being dragged into "unmitigated" disaster by government, its unholy nexus

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
On almost every sector, India has been faring very poorly on human rights. The situation has been deteriorating since the past four years. In the 2018 Human Development Index, India has reached an all-time low of 130 out of 189 countries. As far as democracies go, this is just unthinkable. In almost all other international analysis and studies, which are fairly objective and unbiased, India has touched abysmal depths.
All this certainly does no credit to a country, in which the ruling kingpins, at the cost of the taxpayer, continue to travel across the globe, foisting on gullible people, a whole string of lies, myths and illusions!
One does not have to be rocket scientist to be aware of the human rights violations that are taking place everywhere in the country today. If it is not the ruling political dispensation, then it is either their henchmen or their crony capitalist friends, who look with disdain on the rights of others. They continue with impunity and with an air of immunity, knowing fully well, that the wheels of justice often move very slowly in India! 
So as the world gets its act together for the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on December 10, it is imperative for the people of India to wake themselves from their unconcerned slumber, shake off their complacency and to stand up(visibly and vocally) for human rights now!
In an in-depth analysis of the human rights situation in India, Human Rights Watch, in its Annual Report 2018 stated:
"Vigilante violence aimed at religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the governmentoften carried out by groups claiming to support the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) became an increasing threat in India in 2017. The government failed to promptly or credibly investigate the attacks, while many senior BJP leaders publicly promoted Hindu supremacy and ultra-nationalism, which encouraged further violence. Dissent was labeled anti-national, and activists, journalists, and academics were targeted for their views, chilling free expression. 
"Foreign funding regulations were used to target nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) critical of government actions or policies. Lack of accountability for past abuses committed by security forces persisted even as there were new allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings, including in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Jammu and Kashmir."
Whereas Amnesty International in their Report of 2017/18, echoed similar thoughts:
"Religious minority groups, particularly Muslims, faced increasing demonization by hardline Hindu groups, pro-government media and some state officials. Adivasi communities continued to be displaced by industrial projects, and hate crimes against Dalits remained widespread. Authorities were openly critical of human rights defenders and organizations, contributing to a climate of hostility against them. 
"Mob violence intensified, including by vigilante cow protection groups. Press freedom and free speech in universities came under attack. India failed to respect its human rights commitments made before the UN Human Rights Council. The Supreme Court and High Courts delivered several progressive judgments, but some rulings undermined human rights. Impunity for human rights abuses persisted."
Amnesty India soon became the latest target of the Narendra Modi governments assault on civil society. On October 25, the Enforcement Directorate, an agency that looks into financial crimes, raided the organizations office and froze its bank accounts, effectively stopping its vital human rights work. Swift on the heels of its assault on Greenpeace India earlier this month, when the environmental groups bank accounts were frozen, the Indian government is claiming violations of foreign funding regulations to shut down another prominent NGO.
In a statement, Aakar Patel, Amnesty International Indias Executive Director said, The Enforcement Directorates raid on our office today shows how the authorities are now treating human rights organizations like criminal enterprises, using heavy-handed methods that are commonly found in repressive states. Our staff have been harassed and intimidated”.
Amnesty International and Greenpeace are not the only human rights organization that is targeted; any one (individual or group) who dares take on the Government or their foot soldiers are dealt with an iron hand. Minorities and their organizations are just not spared. On August 28, the Pune police raided the homes of several frontline activists like Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira, Gautam Navlakha, Sudha Bharadwaj, Jesuit Fr. Stan Swamy, Varavara Rao and his family members, Kranti Tekula and Naseem, Anand Teltumbde. Five of them Gonsalves, Ferreira, Navlakha, Rao and Bharadwaj were later arrested. The final verdict on all of them is still not out!
Several other human rights defenders, like Teesta Setalvad, continue to be harassed and have false cases foisted on them. The powers really feel threatened by those who uphold the rights enshrined in the Constitutions and who expose the violations that take place.
On November 29-30, hundreds of thousands of farmers from all over India marched into Delhi and to Parliament, on a two-day protest. Their demands included loan waivers and better prices for their produce. In the last few years, the Government has consistently denied the legitimate rights of those who are the backbone of the Indian economy. The farmers, with red caps and flags, were shouting slogans like "Ayodhya nahi, karzi maaf chahiye (We don't need Ayodhya but a debt waiver).
Thousands of farmers have committed suicide in different parts of the country. According to Government statistics between March to May 2018, 639 farmers have committed suicide in Maharashtra, alone. On October 2, thousands of protesting farmers entering Delhi from Uttar Pradesh were brutally attacked and tear-gassed by the police.
The farmers' protest in Delhi should have hogged the headlines and been prime-time news all over, resulting in national outrage! However, most media channels hardly gave it the coverage it deserved (their focus was Pakistan). The media in India as the fourth pillar of democracy should have taken up cudgels and highlighted the human rights violations in the country.
A sizeable section of the media in India has been throttled and muzzled, becoming pawns in the hands of murderous groups and corrupt corporations. So practically, no one dares speak about the death of CBI Judge BH Loya and why one Judge after the other (one as recently as 28 November) rescues themselves from hearing the petition. It is common knowledge as to who was responsible for the killing of Soharabuddin Shaikh on 26 November 2005 in a fake encounter. Justice Loya who was hearing the case died a very unnatural death because he refused to succumb to the terrorist deeds of the mighty in the country.
A couple of weeks ago, the renowned Carnatic musician, SM Krishna was invited to perform in Delhi by the Airports Authority of India and SPIC MACAY. Krishna, transcends the confines of religion and his music is all about communal harmony and peace and respect for all faiths. The organizers of the programme started receiving threating messages from the sangh parivar calling Krishna an urban naxal and lambasting that he sang songs about Jesus and Allah.
The organisers got cold feet and abruptly called off the performance. However, Delhis AAP Government stepped in and on 18 November, Krishna actually performed to a huge and appreciative audience in Delhi. The right to freedom of opinion and expression (#19) has been systematically destroyed in the country. Several media persons and other intellectuals , who have stood up for justice and truth, like Gauri Lankesh, Kalaburgi, Dabholkar,Pansare, Bhaumik and others have been killed many more are intimidated and harassed and even have false cases foisted on them.
Films are either banned or not allowed to be screened. Social media activists are closely monitored controlled and some have even been arrested. Those who stand up for truth and speak out on critical issues and human rights violations are immediately dubbed as anti-nationals or as urban naxals. On the other hand, those in power continue foisting myths, lies and fake news on the nation. India is placed a woeful 139 out of 176 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2018.
Freedom of Religion or Belief, guaranteed in the Constitution of India is once again on the backfoot. According to a recent report, there more than 200 attacks on Christians and their houses of worship in the recent months, ending October 2018. On November 25, senior BJP leader of Gujarat Dileep Sanghani ridiculously stated that the late Dr Verghese Kurien, the founder of Amul and regarded as the milkman of India, diverted Amuls profits to fund conversions to Christianity from among the tribals. This was immediately rubbished by Kuriens daughter who maintained that her father was also an atheist.
The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath has gone on a name-changing spree, renaming important cities, which have some Muslim significance like Allahabad, with a Hindu-sounding one. It will be another Black Day in the country on December 6, as the country remembers the 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid. The Sanghis have once again made the building of the temple a divisive poll issue.
The fundamentalists thrive on hate speech. The government does all they can to prevent the citizens from exercising Article 18 of the UDHR which states “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
The rights of children and women are violated. Millions of children still labour in hazardous occupations in several parts of the country, besides being denied their right to education, they are deprived of their childhood. Women despite the platitudes that are dished out, continue to be treated as second-class citizens. The Government of Indias stand on the Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution from Myanmar besides violating the rights of refugees, goes totally against the basic spirit of compassion and hospitality. The LGBT community is still looked down upon and treated very unjustly in India.
The economy is on a downward spiral; demonetisation has had an extremely negative impact particularly on the common person (in a new book the former Chief Economic Adviser Arvind Subramaniam refers to it as a massive, draconian monetary shock). The poor and the vulnerable find it impossible to make both ends meet due to the escalation of prices on essential commodities.
Those who dissent and take on the Government are harassed no end and even killed. December 3rd was yet another anniversary of the 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy. But does anyone care? Powerful vested interests continue to destroy the environment and displace thousands of poor people everywhere. There is a growing gap between the rich and poor!
The country is being dragged into unmitigated disaster by the Government and its unholy nexus with small group of anti-national forces consisting of fundamentalists, fascists, fanatics and other fringe elements! They have abdicated their role and responsibility to protect and promote the rights guaranteed to every citizen by the Constitution: the right to life and liberty; to dignity and equality; to freedom of speech and expression; to freedom to preach, practise and propagate ones religion; the right to livelihood, to eat, to dress and to see and to read what one chooses to; and all the other fundamental rights guaranteed to the citizens. The government no longer cares about the right to information, the right to food, the right to a clean environment and to safe drinking water.
A year ago, in preparation for the 70th anniversary of the UDHR, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched www.standup4humanrights.org. This highly interactive website has on one of its key pages this quote: “No democracy! No Human Rights! Male police beating up women in a peaceful protest in Lucknow UP October 23, 2017". Not a laudatory comment on the reality of the largest democracy in the world; indeed a big shame and a terrible blot on the country that this incident should figure in the worlds premier human rights body. The plain truth however is that this is indicative of the ground reality in India today: human rights of the ordinary citizens are trampled upon as never before!
On Human Rights Day, we need to remind ourselves, that the sacred document of 1948 the Universal Declaration of Universal Rights, to which India is also a signatory, is systematically being torn to shreds in our country. Citizens need to awake now and stand up together, to prevent the human rights situation in the country, from deteriorating further.
Those responsible for governing this country must be held accountable and be made to realise that ‘human rights are universal and inalienable; indivisible; interdependent and interrelated. They are universal because everyone is born with and possesses the same rights, regardless of where they live, their gender or race, or their religious, cultural or ethnic background. The words of Dr BR Ambedkar are more than relevant today, "We must stand on our own feet and fight as best as we can for our rights. So carry on your agitation and organize your forces. Power and prestige will come to you through struggle". In the same vein, Rabindranath Tagore challenges us, "into that heaven of freedom my Father, let my country awake!"
---
*Indian human rights activist. Contact: cedricprakash@gmail.com

Comments

Uma said…
These facts are known to all but fear prevents people from doing anything

TRENDING

You promised 50 lakh houses, give us one: Ahmedabad migrant women's plea to Modi

Women display letters containing rakhi for PM    By Hirabhai Solanki, Bhartiben Dantani, Ramesh Shrivastav*  Poor labouring families, including seasonal or long-term migrants of nearly 15 squatter settlements -- working as construction and casual workers and petty vendors, providing cheap but critically important labour for Ahmedabad city, living under plastic sheetings -- have reminded the Gujarat and Central Governments about the promise made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of building 50 lakh dwellings, wherein every pavement dweller and homeless would be given a decent home by the end of 2022. Holding a meeting in Ahmedabad under the aegis of the Majur Adhikaar Manch, they also referred to the appeal of the Prime Minister to poor and labouring women, seeking his support as brother by sending rakhis to protect their humble basti dwellings and provide them with decent housing, which is secure for them and their families. So far, about 300 women have posted rakhis to the Prime Ministe

Kailash Satyarthi NGO floats new centre in Delhi to 'empower' underprivileged children

By Our Representative  A voluntary organisation linked with Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi-supported NGO has floated a unique children’s resource centre at Sanjay Camp, Chankyapuri, New Delhi, in order to facilitate in imparting remedial education, recreational training and holistic development of children of around 2,500 under-privileged slum-dwelling families. Virender Singh Kadian, MLA of Delhi Cantonment, inaugurated the centre, which is called Shaheed Kalu Bal Vikas Kendra. The resource centre is in memory of Kalu Kumar, who died at an young age serving and working towards the development of under-privileged children, said an NGO source. A firebrand activist, Kalu Kumar was trafficked from Bihar to the carpet manufacturing belt of Allahabad when he was six. He was rescued by the Bachpan Bachao Andolan at the age of 10. A bright student, Kalu he covered up the lost ground very quickly and grew up to become a leader fighting for the rights of other child slaves at Bal Ashram. In

A countdown to disaster: Breach in fly-ash bunds of Nagpur's thermal power plants

Fly-ash dyke, Koradi thermal power plant  By Dhwani Shah, Deepmala Patel*  Last month the residents of several villages of Nagpur district woke up to the nightmare of being inundated with fly-ash. Located in the north of Nagpur city are Koradi and Khaparkheda thermal power stations which have their ash dykes in the vicinity. On July 10, 2022 at 3 am, the ash dyke of the Khaparkheda thermal power station broke, leading to ash contaminating the Kanhan river. Though the authorities claimed to have acted quickly and the fly ash dumping in the river was stopped, the claim stood to be misleading and false. Even today, the Kanhan river continues to be polluted with fly-ash, and the water supply to the city is affected. Not only did ash dyke of the Khaparkheda power station break, on July 16, 2022, the ash bund of the Koradi thermal power plant also broke. Fly-ash and water stored in the dyke gushed downstream to six villages -- drowning houses, water bodies and farmlands. With such large-

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Multi-crore NRC updation scam? Awaited: Assam media's self-cleaning mechanism

By Nava Thakuria  If some editor-journalists are allegedly involved in a financial scam, shouldn't the people get an opportunity to identify them? As the mainstream newspapers and news channels of Assam are avoiding the issue in their coverage, how come the actual picture will come to the public domain? If the mainstream media outlets intentionally kill the news, reasons best known to the editors, should the social media users take a lead? By now a number of senior journalists (with experience in print journalism for many decades) have highlighted the issue in social media. Their message is loud and clear- identify the corrupt television journalists who grabbed a huge amount of money which is actually meant for thousands of Assamese professionals. It all began when a second first information report (FIR) was filed by the outgoing State coordinator of National Register of Citizens (NRC) against his predecessor alleging corruption and money laundering while updating the 1951 NRC in A

US rights groups claim 'continued violation' of basic freedoms in J&K since August 2019

By Our Representative  Top US-based non-profit, Human Rights Watch (HRW), headquartered in New York, and the Washington DC-based Indian diaspora group, Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), recalling the abrogation of Article 370 three years ago, have taken strong exception to "continued restrictions" on free expression, peaceful assembly, and other basic rights in Jammu and Kashmir. Claiming that after revoking the region’s special autonomous status on August 5, 2019, the government’s “repressive policies and failure to investigate and prosecute alleged security force abuses have increased insecurity among Kashmiris”, in a statement, HRW said, “The government action was accompanied by serious rights violations including arbitrary detention of hundreds of people, a total communications blackout, and severe restrictions on freedom of movement and peaceful assembly.” It added, “Since then, the authorities have released many of the detainees and restored the internet, but have

Why global recession is 'big threat' to India, despite Nirmala Sitharaman’s bravado

By Prasanna Mohanty*  It would be imprudent to assume that a global recessionary trend will bypass India. In fact, a day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman categorically ruled out the possibility of recession and stagflation (with high unemployment and high inflation India is technically witnessing stagflation) hitting India in her responses to the Parliament earlier in the week, Commerce Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam dropped a bomb shell. He released latest trade data showing fast deteriorating trends. The data showed, in July 2022, exports fell to five-month low of $35.2 billion and imports sequentially increased to $66 billion. The details revealed a fall in seven of top 10 export items: engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewellery, pharmaceuticals, readymade garments, cotton yarn and plastics. All this happened, Subrahmanyam acknowledged, due to the growing recessionary trends in developed countries and elevated commodity prices. The trade deficit (merchandise g

Bangladeshi women crossing borders: Demand to sensitise cops, BSF personnel

Counterview Desk  Bringing more instances of how the security personnel along the borders in West Bengal refuse to probe the human trafficking angle while arresting Bangladeshi women, human rights leader Kirity Roy has said, they are treated as accused in violation of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Government of India and the Government of Bangladesh on Bilateral Cooperation for Preventing of Human Trafficking, especially trafficking in Women and Children. In a letter to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), and national convenor, Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity (PACTI), Hooghly, said, “The victims should be immediately repatriated to their own country and the criminal charges against them must be withdrawn at the earliest”, insisting, “The matters must be handled by the police or the BSF personnel with a human approach.” Text: I am writing this complaint regarding det

A tale of horror and fraud: Profits in trillions of dollars for vaccine manufacturers?

By Aruna Rodrigues*  John Leake is a best-selling and “experienced non-fiction, true crime author”. Having just read what must be described as an extraordinary ‘telling’ of the Covid-19 saga, his book “The Courage to Face Covid-19: Preventing Hospitalization and Death While Battling the Bio-Pharmaceutical Complex”, co-authored with Peter A McCullough, MD, MPH, is the narration of true crime on a scale that could top the list in the history of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’. The book chronicles the unique role of national governments across the world and their health agencies, led by the USA and WHO, which followed an agenda that led to completely avoidable fatalities numbering several million. The question is why? The usual culprits are money and power. But to ascribe cause to these two is woefully insufficient. The sheer magnitude of the ‘dark agenda’ – coordinated and played out by governments, health agencies, the medical establishment (hospitals, doctors and chemists) and the massive a

Draft notification: MoEF&CC should 'critically protect' eco-sensitive Western Ghats

Counterview Desk  In a detailed representation to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Shankar Sharma, power and climate policy analyst, commentin on the draft gazette notification of the MoEF&CC dated July 6, 2022 on the Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) of the Western Ghats (WGs), has said that the political class, having vested interests in Karnataka, has been opposing such a move for many years. Stating that there is no “rational basis to do so”, and stating that the opponents do not even seem to have even read the recommendations of Dr Kasturi Rangan committee report or the actual draft notification itself, Sharma underscores, the only aim of the vested interests, who have “unauthorisedly occupied massive pieces of forest lands”, to continue to do on in near. “These vested interests are continuing to be ignorant of the fact that Western Ghats not only harbour rich biodiversity of critical importance to our people, but also support