Expressing concern about “selective outrage” over human rights, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday that viewing human rights from a political lens is dangerous for democracy.
“Some people characterise human rights from their own perspective these days. They see human rights violations in some cases but not in other similar cases. We have to be wary of such people,” PM Modi said at an event to mark the 28th Foundation Day of the National Human Rights Commission. Union Home Minister Amit Shah and NHRC Chairperson and former Supreme Court judge Arun Mishra also spoke at the event.
“Looking at human rights with an eye on political gains and loss harms these rights as well as democracy. Selective behaviour is harmful to democracy and tarnishes the nation’s image. We must be wary of such politics,” Modi added.
The prime minister said in the past decades, there have been several instances when the world was misguided and lost its way, but India has always been committed to human rights.
Talking about the Indian freedom struggle, Modi said: “We fought for our rights across centuries and, as a country and society, always protested against injustice and tyranny,” PM Modi remarked.
In his speech, the prime minister cited a number of measures taken up by the NDA government to deliver basic needs like toilets, cooking gas, electricity and homes to the poor and said this makes them more aware of their rights. PM Modi also spoke briefly about the law against ‘triple talaq’. The prime minister also spoke of the measures like 26-week maternity leave and more stringent law for rape to highlight his dispensation’s empowerment of women.
Home Minister Amit Shah said that since the Narendra Modi-led BJP came to power in 2014, the government has tackled poverty to address human rights. “It is the first time that transgenders are getting rights envisaged under the Constitution,” he said.
Justice Mishra, who took over as chairperson of the human rights body in June, said that the NHRC, since its establishment, has resolved over 20 lakh cases and awarded compensation worth Rs 205 crore to victims.
Justice Mishra also credited Home Minister Amit Shah for “ensuring peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir.” “It is because of you that a new era has now begun in Jammu and Kashmir,” justice Mishra said.
Justice Mishra also spoke about the selective definition of human rights and said that one cannot glorify terrorists and terrorism, claiming human rights. “History will not forgive us if human rights defenders do not criticise political violence,” he said.
The commission was set up under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, on October 12, 1993, for the promotion and protection of human rights.
The NHRC takes cognisance of human rights violations, conducts enquiries and recommends compensation to victims from public authorities besides other remedial and legal measures against the erring public servants.