Zamir Ahmed Awan
THE non-profit organisation ‘Human Rights Watch’ recently released its annual report for the year 2018. The organisation is renowned for impartial reporting of human rights violations across the globe; partnering with regional groups such as the European Union and international human rights’ organisations such as the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to promote human rights and justice around the world. Since it aims to protect human rights globally, all countries are obligated to cooperate with the organisation and amend their policies accordingly. The report for 2018 included certain cases of non-ignorable life-threatening violations that significantly require not only the world’s attention but a helpful hand in halting such activities. The report emphasised “Vigilante violence aimed at religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government—often carried out by groups claiming to support the ruling India’s 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.”
The despicable ideology of considering one-self superior to another presents dire consequence and ultimately innocent humans suffer regardless of their origin. This precise ideology has seemed to establish resilient roots within India masking itself as minority and gender discrimination. The report highlighted “Mob attacks by extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the ruling BJP against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumours that they sold, bought, or killed cows for beef. Instead of taking prompt legal action against the attackers, police frequently file complaints against the victims under laws banning cow slaughter. As of November, there had been 38 such attacks, and 10 people killed during the year.” This clearly expresses the fact that strangely enough cows are preferred over human life; a person’s life is taken away over the simple struggle to gain sustenance from cow meat by people who in no justice system possess the right to take someone’s life. It is largely confusing to analyse that meat consumption is something a person should be murdered over. Justice must be provided to the family members of these individuals regardless of the ideals they believe in or the casts they were born in. These practices and ideologies are quite alarming if given thought. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has recently recognised two Hindu groups as religious militant outfits belonging to a nationalist organisation RSS. The CIA’s Factbook mentions RSS’s leaders as individuals that initiate and encourage human rights’ violation “numerous religious or militant/chauvinistic organisations; various separatist groups seeking greater communal or regional autonomy”.
Prime Minister Modi was refused to grant US visa on charges of his alleged involvement in riots against Muslims in Gujrat, when he was Chief Minister of Gujrat State. However on the contrary authorities responsible seem to have diverted limited resources instead towards sports matches- the report includes “In June, police in Madhya Pradesh State, India arrested 15 Muslims on sedition charges for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in a cricket match, despite Supreme Court directions that sedition allegations must involve actual violence or incitement to violence.” The local population thus must fear for their lives to believe in freedom of expression. Countries across the globe are invested in promoting gender equality and empowering women whilst gender discrimination and women rights’ violation is exacerbated despite the existence of a criminal justice system in some countries. The World Report 2018 also states that in India “Multiple high-profile cases of rape across the country during the year once again exposed the failures of the criminal justice system. Nearly five years after the government amended laws and put in place new guidelines and policies aimed at justice for survivors of rape and sexual violence, girls and women continue to face barriers to reporting such crimes, including humiliation at police stations and hospitals…” Such traumatic experiences require urgent attention and the victims need to be facilitated with proper physical healthcare, social protection and therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder; this is a third degree human rights’ violation which ends up destroying an individual enough for them to only ‘look’ alive.
On June 14, 2017 the United Nations OHCHR released its first ever report on Kashmir highlighting extreme human rights’ violation cases. This report was harshly negated by India through the response of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) despite the existence of astoundingly substantial evidence on violence against the citizens of Kashmir. India claimed this report to be biased and disrespecting of its sovereignty although the report was a mere unprejudiced observation; an attempt to save human life. If the OHCHR did choose certain events in Kashmir out of the total (instead of considering them all) then the more frequent ones had a higher probability of being selected which implies that the report is in no regard biased but the violations originating from India in Kashmir are more frequent. India’s lack of flexibility and acceptance seems quite immature when human life is at stake. It is unwise for India to rest after passing comments while its force harms Kashmir citizens with pellet guns and spreads violence on religious events such as the Eid-ul-Fitr.
India has been exposed and her true face has been known to the international community. The entire world must facilitate human rights’ organisations to impress upon India the importance of human rights and convince it to show flexibility when it comes to human life atleast. The world must help India understand that being spiteful and passing quick remarks is not a solution, instead it must look past comment exchanges and divert focus towards human rights’ violation cases across the land. India is exceedingly capable of achieving this with its growing economy but requires a push in the right direction from its fellow nations; an emphasis must be made on being flexible and taking positive action as opposed to presenting unpleasant verbal feedback. It is undeniable that the world’s nations will support India in improving human rights.
— The writer, Professor National University of Sciences & Tech, is non-residence Fellow at Centre for China and Globalisation.