Merwah Hamid Qureshi
(Merwah Hamid has completed her MS from QAU and teaching as visiting lecturer at NOA islamabad)
Killing minorities, depriving the deprived, burning the homes of the weaker ones, persecuting the ones who dare to question the state sponsored terrorism, stripping citizens off their citizenship, blood bathing of the Muslim region, raping the women of Muslims and of scheduled castes, blinding the youth by using pellet guns, imposing months long curfew and what not are the saffron gifts of the Hindutva factions sponsored by BJP regime to the region in general and India in specific. Sadly, Indian government instead of improving the situation is actively involved in wreaking havoc in the areas densely populated by minorities. Moreover, the Modi Sarkar is also persecuting the ones who try to break the saffron shackles and criticize the inhuman acts of the government aimed at making Nehruvian secular democratic India a Hindu rashtra.
The visionary minds following the Nehruvian principles of secularism or the footsteps of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, are being made to pay the price for standing by the victims of human rights abuse by the Hindutva goons and for trying to voice their stance of defending the basic human rights. Indian government is arresting everyone speaking for the human rights and against the human rights abuse committed by the Modi government.
It is particularly alarming to note that human rights defenders cannot conduct advocacy activities, notably in favor of India’s poorest and most marginalized communities, without becoming subject to intimidation and harassment. (Maria Arena)
Not only the international organization like the United Nations and its agencies like UNHCR but the regional organizations like European Union and its parliament has also taken notice of India’s belligerent, hegemonic, undemocratic and anti-minority approach in the south Asian region. India’s current predicament stands testament to the fact that once democratic India is no more a democratic state at all for there exists no freedom of movement, speech or association and it also fails to defend the basic human rights. Ironically, Indian government added insult to the injury and started persecuting even the defenders of human rights like Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha. The arrest of these two human rights activists has raised the concerns of international human rights bodies.
The Chair of the European Parliament’s Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), Maria Arena, wrote the letter of great concern to the Indian Home Minister Amit Shah. She has expressed the European concern for distressed situation of human rights in India, where even the defendants of human rights are being arrested. In her letter written on 28th of May 2020, Maria Arena states, “It is in this context that we are closely following the protection of human rights defenders in India and wish to express serious concerns about the recent arrests of Anand Teltumbde and Gautam Navlakha by the National Investigative Agency. It is particularly alarming to note that human rights defenders cannot conduct advocacy activities, notably in favor of India’s poorest and most marginalized communities, without becoming subject to intimidation and harassment, but .equally worrying is the fact that terrorism charges, including under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), are used to silence them. As pointed out by United Nations Special Procedures, this clearly represents a violation of international human rights standards.”
This time instead of talking the talk, the international players must walk a walk or else witness a new Nazi regime mocking the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and human rights in the South Asian region.
Not only this, but the European parliamentary subcommittee has also highlighted the Indian act of suppressing the protesting voices by labeling them terrorists and anti-state. It critically censured the UAPA 2009 Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act which gives discretionary powers to the state agencies to label any protest as unlawful. The protests pertaining to the unilateral revocation of article 370 and 35A, the discriminatory citizenship act, the NRC and the other discriminatory government policies are being declared as unlawful. Furthermore, many have been killed in the riots -against inhumane state policies- by the Indian police which ironically promise to maintain peace in the society. Peaceful protests are the essence of democracy, however, Modi’s suppressing and violent polices to silence the protestors have actually mocked democracy. This act of categorizing protests as illegitimate by Indian government has also been reprimanded in the letter written to Indian Home Minister in these words, “The European Parliament has noticed that various forms of legitimate peaceful protests against laws, policies and governmental actions, including the Citizenship Amendment Act, have been portrayed as terrorist activities under this legislation, resulting in a number of arrests under this umbrella. This is notably the case for human rights activists such as Safoora Zargar, Gulfisha Fatima, Khalid Saifi, Meeran Haider, Shifa-Ur-Rehman, Dr Kafeel Khan; Asif Iqbal and Sharjeel Imam who were recently arrested by the Police.”
European Parliament’s subcommittee has unveiled India’s real face pertaining to human rights in its letter. It is a positive development to highlight the grave human rights abuses committed by Indian government, however, now is the time to take some real action by holding India accountable for all her inhumane practices. This time instead of talking the talk, the international players must walk a walk or else witness a new Nazi regime mocking the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity and human rights in the South Asian region.