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India's human rights record makes a farce of its democracy

lem34

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India's human rights record makes a farce of its democracy

India's human rights record makes a farce of its democracy | Seema Sengupta | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Government agents seem to compete with outlaws to show who can trample hardest on the rights of the citizen


Indian policemen and paramilitary soldiers are accused of a wide range of human rights abuses. Photograph: Dar Yasin/AP

India is a nation engrossed in confronting terrorism and suppressing intermittent local rebellions. It is also witnessing a surge in human rights violations, which the government seems to be happily lackadaisical in preventing.

The Asian Centre for Human Rights has documented a jump in cases of custodial deaths by 41.66% over the last decade, including 70.72% in prison and 12.60% in police custody. It is indeed a paradox that the largest democracy is defiled by frequent cases of illegal detention, torture, extrajudicial execution and forced disappearances. Moreover, nothing could be more disgraceful than the incarceration of thousands of people for political reasons in this multiparty democracy. Unfortunately, the state seems to be competing with the outlaws in trampling the basic rights of its citizens guaranteed by the Indian constitution. The common people, particularly minorities and the underprivileged, are enduring all forms of inhuman and degrading treatment at the hands of security personnel. Mumbai-based grocer Faiz Usmani's sudden demise during his grilling by investigating officers probing the 13 July serial bombing points to a greater malaise. Though Usmani's brother is a suspected terrorist, ad hoc mass detention without specific charges following every major crime has become an unofficial practice.

Prakash Singh, a former director general of police and distinguished internal security expert struggling to usher in police reforms, candidly admitted to me that the "state has turned rapacious", while simultaneously advocating appropriate legislative immunity in its tackling of the scourge of extremism. Despite his admiration for the restraint displayed by Indian forces, the subaltern class – especially in underdeveloped areas – continues to face the combined wrath of militants, security agencies and state-sponsored militias. While rebels against the Indian constitution randomly exploit the poor, having no hesitation in extracting levy for a perjurious cause, the foot soldiers of the Indian state wilfully use this hapless population as human shields during counterinsurgency operations.

Ironically, administration-backed militias working as an extended arm of the police show no qualms in resorting to criminal acts in insurgency-infested provinces. More inclined to treating homebred militancy as a mere law and order subject, the Indian government is adopting a carrot and stick strategy. Notwithstanding the rapid strides in enacting social legislation guaranteeing rural employment, the right to education, ownership of forest land for tribal people and strengthening social security of the unorganised workforce – there seems to be a reluctance to fetter the security agencies which use extralegal measures to enforce the law.

Intriguingly, the cabinet has drawn a veil over the prevention of torture bill, 2010 and is dithering over ratifying the UN convention on torture while ignoring calls from Amnesty International to ensure fair trials at international standards. Bodies such as the United Nations and the European Union have consistently voiced concern at India's disregard for humanitarian laws. As far back as 1997, the UN human rights committee expressed its anxiety about the widespread use of torture by law enforcement agencies: "The EU has regularly taken up in the framework of its dialogue with India, the implementation of public order-related legislation and allegations of human rights violations," says Jean-Christian Rémond of the European External Action Service.

Alarmingly, India's official human rights body – the National Human Rights Commission – has failed miserably to lead a national discourse on human rights and dignity, thus taking flak from the UN Human Rights Council. With limited resources and an enormous charter, the agency has been rendered ineffective. In a democratic framework, any extralegal activity by police undermines not only the established procedural set-up, but also the fundamentals of governance.

Sadly, such practice has infected India's paramilitary and military units too. India's supreme court has termed such authoritarian acts cowardly and unconscionable. The government must introduce appropriate reforms instead of maintaining a deafening silence. After all, the imposition of restrictive and predatory laws to contain public outcry stands as a glaring testimony to India's abject failure to offer a proper outlet for popular grievances.
 

notsuperstitious

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Whats interesting is that the hong kong based Asian Centre for Human Rights has country wise divisions, but they don't have one for China, the largest nation in Asia. If you click on their china section, the last report is from 2006. Clever these Chinis.

At topic - India, like all developing poor countries badly needs police reforms if she has to become a successful country. There is not enough public awareness that this is possible and should be pushed ahead.
 

CardSharp

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Whats interesting is that the hong kong based Asian Centre for Human Rights has country wise divisions, but they don't have one for China, the largest nation in Asia. If you click on their china section, the last report is from 2006. Clever these Chinis.

At topic - India, like all developing poor countries badly needs police reforms if she has to become a successful country. There is not enough public awareness that this is possible and should be pushed ahead.
Are you implying that this Human rights NGO is funded by a hostile nation and political in nature? Because that's the same thing we 'chinis' have been saying about the various government funded groups that targets China.
 

CardSharp

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Also a little more digging show tell you that the Asian Centre for Human Rights is based in Delhi and focuses on South Asia.

Asian Centre for Human Rights
C-3/441-C, Janakpuri
New Delhi - 110058, INDIA
Tel/Fax: +91-11- 45501889, 25620583

Asian Centre for Human Rights


It is also a UN recognized body.

The United Nations Human Rights Council has started the Universal Periodic Review in April 2008. Asian Centre for Human Rights has been making stakeholders' submission on a number of countries as given below.
Asian Centre for Human Rights
 

notsuperstitious

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Are you implying that this Human rights NGO is funded by a hostile nation and political in nature? Because that's the same thing we 'chinis' have been saying about the various government funded groups that targets China.
No I'm not implying that, I got confused between tow similar sounding orgs. This one seems chini run, based in HK and you can't even click on china on their country map :)

Choose your country — Asian Human Rights Commission

But thats immaterial, as police reform is a reality India can not shy away from. We will never climb up the stairs of human and material development unless that happens.


BTW you seem to be angry over the word Chini, pls don't be it has no negative connotations. I just use it because some chinese call me bharti, which also does not have negative connotations. Its just a different language word.

Choose your country — Asian Human Rights Commission
 

CardSharp

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No I'm not implying that, I got confused between tow similar sounding orgs. This one seems chini run, based in HK and you can't even click on china on their country map :)

Choose your country — Asian Human Rights Commission

But thats immaterial, as police reform is a reality India can not shy away from. We will never climb up the stairs of human and material development unless that happens.


BTW you seem to be angry over the word Chini, pls don't be it has no negative connotations. I just use it because some chinese call me bharti, which also does not have negative connotations. Its just a different language word.

Choose your country — Asian Human Rights Commission
You have the wrong website. Follow the Guardian's link in the actual article.

Asian Centre for Human Rights
 

gpit

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"India's human rights record makes a farce of its democracy"

It is self-evident. Given rampant illiteracy and starvation there, don’t expect any true democracy.

India has democracy in name but feudalism/caste in reality.

Democracy can’t be transplanted by copy/paste, rather it has to be grown and cultivated within.

The sad thing is that hundreds years of British rule inscribes within Indian elites brain a near indelible inferiority complex. It’s up for the Indians to figure it out and change it, not anybody else.

BTW, Britain, though appears hilarious now, should also bear the responsibility for India's abysmal human rights abuse.
 

CardSharp

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BTW you seem to be angry over the word Chini, pls don't be it has no negative connotations. I just use it because some chinese call me bharti, which also does not have negative connotations. Its just a different language word.
And the use of the word bharti is not permitted over at Chinese defence forum. Playing games with petty insults is lame.
 

gpit

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SUBIR BHOWMIK's COLUMN :: North East India's Horrible Human Rights Record

http://www.thenortheasttoday.in/ind...uman-rights-in-northeast&catid=48:latest-news

Not in Ramdev

...

North-East India is the best example of being a slaughter house of human rights. Atrocities on women at home and in workplace, insurgency, problems of drugs, child abuse and flesh trade, extortion, torture and death in custody including custodial rape, aggressive development projects …

NE India Intervention on 15TH Session of the Human rights Council | Human Rights
 

Kylin

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Whats interesting is that the hong kong based Asian Centre for Human Rights has country wise divisions, but they don't have one for China, the largest nation in Asia. If you click on their china section, the last report is from 2006. Clever these Chinis.
The only thing this post related to China is where the freaking Asian Centre for Human Rights at, stop your stupid accusations.

You should worry more about how well ur democracy is performing than coming up with conspiracy theories.
 

notsuperstitious

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The only thing this post related to China is where the freaking Asian Centre for Human Rights at, stop your stupid accusations.

You should worry more about how well ur democracy is performing than coming up with conspiracy theories.
Dont you wonder these two orgs, calling themselves ''ASIAN'' completely ignore the largest most populous nation in asia that also has one of the worst human rights records in asia?

I think its a genuine query, think about it, don't be so closed minded, you live in Canada now.

Besides at topic, I've already said police high handedness is a reality in India, police easily think they have power over the poor, and this needs to be fixed. This is an issue you will find in all developing countries, overall development of societies, empowerment of individual and more freedom is the answer, and for that democracy will work just fine. Thanks for your concern though.

Honestly how did you get from



to Asian Human Rights Commission
Because articles from that HK based human rights org have been posted before too, its easy when both these asian human rights guys wanna give china a free pass :)
 

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