HT Correspondent, Varanasi, January 18
“INDIA’S UNSATISFACTORY performance in the field of human rights, both at the philosophical and practical levels, is a matter of concern,” said Prof DP Verma, chairman of the Human Rights Cell at Banaras Hindu University. He was delivering a lecture on ‘Human Rights Report Card of India’ at a panel discussion held at the Faculty of Law, in Banaras Hindu University, on Tuesday.
The discussion was organised by ‘Academique’, a discussion group.
Prof Verma said despite its contribution to the world in terms of tradition, culture and knowledge, India has failed to evolve a human rights philosophy based on the concept of ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ and ‘Manavdharma’.
“Such philosophy does not appear in India’s official position on human rights at the international forum,” he said, adding that it always adopted a defensive position before the United Nations Human Rights Commission and various human rights bodies.
“The need of the hour is that India must take a stand on human rights issues with emphasis on the components of human duties,” he said.
Prof Verma argued that India had failed to give priority to social and economic rights of the people in its programmes and policies from the perspective of human rights.
Therefore, rights relating to the basic needs of the people had been delayed on the pretext of lack of resources, overpopulation, unemployment, poverty and illiteracy in the country, he added.
“Our government has not accepted it as a human rights challenge, and it must understand that no country will come to our rescue. After all, it is our problem and we have to solve it,” Prof Verma further said.
Vidya Prakash Maurya of MA, Political Science, said the Constitution of India had made various human rights available in the form of fundamental rights. However, in practice, a number of human rights abuses were being reported by the media, he added.
“Most of these cases were committed by the upper caste people against those belonging to the lower castes,” he said, adding that despite reservation for women in the panchayat, their situation could not improve considerable due to people’s mindset.
Yashpal Chaudhary of BA, Part III, at the Faculty of Social Science, conducted the proceedings of the discussion while Dibya Chatterjee of B Sc (Agriculture) proposed the vote of thanks.