On Human Rights Day, the history of human rights abuses by the government of India and discussion on the contemporary farmer’s movement.
~ Vikram R
(Student of Delhi School Of Journalism, Delhi University)
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
~Martin Luther King
In this era, the whole world is not only facing a global epidemic but is also moving towards an economic recession. As the world celebrates the 72nd human rights day on 10th of December, each day the Indian government is taking their anti-worker, anti-minority, anti-farmer, anti-Dalit and tribal policies to new dimensions.
With the kind of brazenness that the government put on a nation wide lockdown without any preparation, lakhs of labourers were left to walk thousands of kilometres on hard sunlight. And the way they removed lockdown just before the elections in Bihar, it is clear that this government with its holier than thou nature is willing to do anything to serve its capitalist fundamentalist agenda.
We can see, it is crystal clear that Corona cases, as well as the death rate, is increasing with tremendous velocity as soon as the elections ended, but the government is not at all ready to believe that they have made a mistake by failing to understand the situation and not taking the right steps at the right time.
We saw, how during the lockdown when the elite and privileged class people from all over the country were in their homes, then the government shamelessly put the students, social workers, and journalists who spoke against the evils of the government in jails.
The government with lockdown’s back not only made an anti-student education policy, but it has also relaxed the labour laws of the states.
It is also clear that the government has also made a hole in the strength of the farmers’ law, and that’s why we are seeing a nationwide protest by the farmers of the whole nation.
Farmers from neighbouring states of the capital, like Punjab and Haryana are standing against the new farmer law and the way Haryana and Delhi Police not only lathi-charged but also used water cannons and tear gas on the peaceful march of ‘annadatas’ (Farmers) and that too in this cold atmosphere of north India. It was covered by national mainstream media and now it’s axiomatic that the government is anti farmers.
This is not the first time when the government of our great nation took an anti-human step, there is a huge historical list of such incidents in which the basic human and fundamental rights of our fellow citizens were violated by the grace of our ‘Beloved’ current and former governments. Some of them are as follows.
- It is reported by media and J&KSHRC (Jammu and Kashmir State Human Rights Commission) that on 23rd of February 1991, During a search operation for militants, Indian security forces entered two neighbouring places; Kunan and Poshpora of Kupwara district. And reportedly raped at least 23 women of the two villages. It was reported that a minor girl of 8 years of age was not spared. The whole incident took place just below the nose of the government and the government kept silent just to keep its nose unharmed in front of international media and Human Rights Commission. It’s almost 30 years and in the latest news, it is reported that six of the women is dead and seventeen of them are still waiting for justice but just seems far away.
- Between 29th and 30th may of 2009, it was reported that two women of Sophian district named Aasiya Jan and Neelofer Jan was allegedly raped and killed by local army officials. First, the government officials tried to suppress the news but just after the vocal agitation of society of the victims, they registered a case. After 11 years the latest news related to the case shows that the judiciary is raising questions towards the integrity of the two women.
- Salwa Judum (Local militia group sponsored by armed forces and state ) was announced in June 2005. And between June 2005 to December 2005, the group burned, raped, killed and looted hundreds of villages of south Dantewada region. The operating centre was in Bijapur and Bhairamgarh blocks near Bailadila where Essar Group’s new steel plant was proposed. The government wanted to vacant the tribal land and give it to Essar Group when tribal communities agitated against the state’s policies, numbers of state-sponsored pogroms took place just to suppress the voices of indigenous tribal people. The then Superintendent of police Bijapur, D.S Manhar (one of the key person and founder member of Salwa Judum), who ordered his junior officers to vacant the villages by hook or crook was ridiculously transferred to state ‘Human Rights Commission’. Salwa Judum was later revoked and banned by the Supreme Court of India in 2011. But, until then thousands of tribal people were killed and thousands of acres of tribal land was given to capitalist industries.
- Soni Sori teacher turned activist from Jagdalpur was arrested and sexually tortured by the police in 2011, Subsequently she hospitalized in Kolkata Medical College where doctors removed stones that had been inserted into her vagina and rectum. And the whole incident took place in police custody. The main accuse and then superintendent of police Ankit Garg was awarded gallantry award in 2012.
- On 9th June of 2017, it was allegedly reported that an encounter took place between Maoists and CRPF in Giridih district and a Maoist leader was killed. On 10th of June the then Jharkhand DGP DK Pandey reached the district and hailed for mother nation. He awarded then SP V Varier one lakh rupees and promised an amount of 15 lakhs as prize money but on the very next day the truth came in front that the alleged Maoist leader who was killed in the encounter was a tribal man who used to work as a Doli labour ( Who used to carry pilgrims on the shoulder cart to the temple of the mountain.) Subsequently, after protests of local people and labour unions, local leaders came forward for his family. But his family is still waiting for justice.
- The case of Salwa Judum of Chattisgarh was reported in the media but in Jharkhand, a lot of state-sponsored militia is formed just to suppress and disrepute the Maoist insurgency. And in this whole system brother is killing brother, tribal is killing tribal just for the sake few bucks. And at last organic, fertile tribal land with full of minerals are being distributed to private companies of big industrialists.
The above list is just a glimpse. Each day such incidents are taking place in our country but the people who stand against this oppressive system are being thrown in dungeons, most of whom are either students, professors, activists, or poets. We saw how people like Anand Teltumbde, Varavara Rao, Sudha Bhardwaj, G.N Saibaba and others were arrested. We saw how Delhi police entered the central library of Jamia and ferociously beaten students. We saw how Delhi police tried to clear evidence by breaking the CCTV cameras. But the whole socio-political scenario wants us to be busy in Hindu-Muslim and India-Pak debate.
Despite all these negativities we are expecting some positivity from the ongoing farmers protest in the coming days. Celebrating human rights day feels ridiculous when the nation which is called the world’s biggest democracy is going through such a dark situation in which the farmers who feed us are facing water cannons and tear gas.
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