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UN’s call for justice

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UN’s call for justice
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The United Nations Human Rights Council, two years ago, raised serious concern about the rise in the unlawful killings in India and the excessive use of force enabling the accused to escape law.

The May 2013 report had also urged to revoke black laws like AFSPA. But the country is yet to take effective steps to curb these violations and deliver justice. A follow up report was released recently before the UN Human Rights Council that analysed the steps taken by the present government to implement the recommendations stated in the 2013 report. It critisised that not much has been done so far to ‘address and prevent extrajudicial killings and to ensure accountability’ and said that the recommendations suggested by the Council and the Courts remained on paper. The impunity granted to the accused is not only a denial of justice and human rights to the victims but is also a huge shame for the nation internationally. When the 2013 report presented in the UN Human Rights Council, Manmohan Singh, the then Prime Minister of India dismissed the suggestions instead of mulling over the matter with the seriousness it deserved. A recent UN report says communal killings have been on a hike in the country with no steps taken to curb the human rights violations and that Modi government was trying to protect the criminals. The granting of life imprisonment for five army personnel for fake encounter killings in March 2010 was the lone incident where justice was upheld. The security force personnel facing prosecution for carrying out the unlawful killings of Ishrat Jahan and Sohrabuddin Sheikh were granted senior positions. This would only encourage impunity and hinder the trials against the reinstated officers.

The black laws are still very much in effect. The government’s permission is still needed to prosecute officials. The persecuted communities are deprived of justice and are left to suffer. India has not, so far agreed to the UN pact of protecting the abducted and the physically abused. International Religious Freedom Report this year that was released two months back said that the Christians, Muslims and Sikh communities increasingly suffer religious violence. The international rights group Amnesty International has also expressed their anxiety on the matter. Sectarianism and discrimination affects not only the victims but the nation as a whole. The Institute for Economics and Peace, an organisation based in Australia released the ‘Global Peace Index 2014’ which clearly proves the fact. Out of 162 countries, India has been ranked 143 in terms of peace index. The country had also witnessed a loss of huge amount of national resources in the religious-caste-communal violence. Around 34, 170 dollars (21.73 lakh crore) was wasted in the 2014 attacks and clashes that amounts to Rs 15, 077 per Indian. It is more than the money allotted for huge schemes like the Employment Insurance Scheme (34, 699 crore), Health sector (33, 150 crore), Education and lunch (68, 960 crore) in the central budget coming fiscal year. Even the Defense budget (2, 46, 000 crore) comes up to one in five of that utilized for internal conflicts.

Yet another Delhi report that analysis ‘Modi government’s 365 days’ provides an answer as to the huge losses suffered by the nation. At least 43 people were killed in the communal riots in India between May 26 2014 and early June 2015. According to the report, while the number of attacks directed towards Christians was 212, it was 175 unleashed against Muslims along with 234 incidents of inflammable or ‘hate’ speeches. All these excluding the 108 Muslims killed in Bodo violence in Assam following which lakhs of people became refugees. When the international reports points out the national losses, the Centre has the responsibility to respond and rectify their mistakes. The UN report is a grim reminder that the country needs to work towards curbing extrajudicial killings. The recommendations put forward by the Council should be implemented with immediate effect to improve the human rights situation in India.

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