NCHRO Conference Explores Human Rights Situation in Rajasthan.
The seminar focused on some of the pertinent human rights issues. In recent years, our country has faced shrinking democratic space, as well as numerous threats to human rights and the rule of law. This has been visible in the many mob lynch killing cases, atrocities,social exclusion and marginalisation of weaker section, politicising justice and policing, religious intolerance and restricting the press etc.
It is clear that mere existence of ‘Human Rights For All’ is not enough to put an end to human rights violations, since we all know that these are committed every day, in every part of our country. By bringing together human rights scholars and practitioners, NCHRO hopes this debate promote societal transformation based upon human rights, equality and human dignity.
The chief guest Advocate Bahar-U-Barqi, Supreme Court of India said, the human rights situation throughout the country is, very much alarming.Today fascism can be seen openly in almost all institutions of our country. Supremacy of a particular national identity above individual freedoms and social equality is promoted. The religious minority communities and Dalits face discrimination and persecution in our country where hate crimes, social boycotts,assaults and forced conversion have escalated dramatically since 2014. Impunity at the highest level and denial of fundamental human rights all impede our development and undermine ‘Unity in Diversity’ as a whole. The ultimate goal of the fascist project is to concentrate power in the hands of an unaccountable few. The pending cases in the Human Rights Commission in Rajasthan reveals the situation of human rights in the state. Values of tolerance, equality and respect can help reduce friction within society. Putting human rights ideas into practice can helps us create the kind of society we want to live in, Adv.Barqi added.
The first presentation was anchored by Advocate Saifan Sheikh, NCHRO Exco member, and focused on the field activities and objectives of NCHRO.
Addressing the seminar, Justice T. C. Rahul said that the various governments in the country have always been guilty of violating the rights of the weaker sections. Yet, despite government intervention policies; the weak and vulnerable have been victims of violations, did not enjoy the protections, rights and benefits bestowed on. In many regions of our country these weaker section have been, and are still being, discriminated against and deprived of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. if the government had done so well in supporting weaker sections“why have there been thousands of cases of atrocities in the past 25 years”? “How many perpetrators have been punished”?. All the neglected sections should be united and fight for their rights, with the ultimate aim to be legitimate representation at the decision making level. Another concern is of an independent judicial system and the shortcomings in the administration of justice, the backlog and lengthy proceedings in the courts often mostly affected the downtrodden.
Speaking in the program, Advocate Ansar Indori, NCHRO Exco member, said the gap between ideal and reality is stark and deadly considering the rights of Dalits, Tribals and Minorities in today’s India. The scourge of caste discrimination, Violence, Alienation of Tribals, Torture and Mob violence is frequently reported, and has been especially noticeable in situations where marginalised communities made progress in gaining education and economic mobility.
Disregarding the first principles of the justice system, Police encounter killings or extra judicial killings have become the routine in the northern states especially in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, with the victims mostly from vulnerable social groups such as Dalits and Muslims. For force to be exercised legitimately it must comply with the rule of law, and the essence of the rule of law is visibility and uniformity in application of rules. Despite the apex court rulings and direction, these ‘targeted killings’ are on the rise and perpetrators have the impunity with fabricated evidence, political backing, corrupt officials, and a failed justice system.
Those speaking against human rights violation and fighting for the rights of Dalits and Tribals are being targeted by the “present regime”. Those who are on the front lines taking up unpopular causes of downtrodden are being maligned, attacked, arrested and held in prolonged detention, and/or even killed. It is clear that in targeting such activists, the state is trying to silence those who stand for democratic rights of citizens. Booking activists with draconian laws such as UAPA is not meant for convicting people, it is used to detain them. Eventually, acquittals might happen but a considerable amount of time passes by and the person’s life is ruined. The state strategy is to create a chilling effect and deny equitable access to legal system.
Mohammad Asif, Rajasthan State President of Popular Front of India appreciated the work being done by NCHRO in the field. We are in the era where governments, political parties, social and economic players use the language of human rights without a commitment to human rights objectives. But we witnessed NCHRO volunteers assisted many victims of organized violence and torture. From providing legal assistance to victims To enable them seek redress and demand accountability.
Shabir Khan, Secretary, NCHRO Rajasthan Chapter presented the annual report of NCHRO.
Justice R.K.Akodia, NCHRO Exco Member, who chaired the seminar noted despite many challenges and limited resources NCHRO, a direct field work organisation given extra ordinary results. He said that working to stop human rights abuse’s is the biggest social work in today’s time. We are still witnessing discrimination and atrocities either in one form or the other on weaker section of the society. The marginalization of downtrodden influences all spheres of their life, violating basic human rights such as civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights. Different elements of Sangh Parivar’s oppressive and harmful rhetoric that has led to human rights violations in the communities intensifying the social, political, and economic conditions that we face, the seminar noted.
Advocate Aitmad Ajmeri, had presented the resolutions and endorsed by delegates by raising their hands.
The seminar was moderated by Dr. Barkatullah, Vice President, NCHRO Rajasthan Chapter. Mohammed Hanif, General Secretary, NCHRO Rajasthan proposed Vote of Thanks – “Thank all for active participation and open dialogue. we look forward to continuing, beyond this event, the very stimulating and instructive exchange of ideas we had today”.
We want these type of seminar’s to be a space for directly-impacted people, community organizers, movement lawyers, culture bearers and workers to gather, heal from the atrocities of fascists, and intersect coordinated strategies to continue advancing a people-centered human rights movement in India.