Subversion Of Democracy > Page 1
An assessment of the Human Rights situation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir must take the involvement of Pakistan in providing sanctuary, arms and training and finance to terrorists to operate in Indian territory as its starting point since, having created a situation of armed terrorism and subversion of the democratic polity, Pakistan now seeks to exploit the resulting situation by raising the bogey of Human Rights.
Lord Howe speaking in the British House of Lords on the question of human rights observed "... the important question of human rights ... is an inevitable and legitimate question for societies such as our own that are struggling with the uneven balance between, on the one hand, the forces and agencies of Government charged with the uncomfortable duty of upholding the rule of law- all of whose decisions are open to challenge, open to appeal, open to debate . . . and on the other hand terrorists who are subject to no such constraints; they act as self appointed prosecutors, self appointed judges, self appointed jury and self appointed executioners.."
Democracy, with its concomitant principles of freedom of expression and faith is the surest protector of human rights. Dwelling on human rights, when the very institutions which can guarantee human rights are the target of terrorism spawned and supported from across a State's borders, is self destructive. It diverts attention from what should be the primary focus - the preservation of the human rights of all citizens, not only a gun wielding minority.
The Government of India is extremely conscious of the need to protect the human rights of all its citizens.
When India became free in August 1947 it gave itself a representative Government, chosen on the basis of adult suffrage. Its Constitution drew inspiration from the French and American Constitutions while retaining the best of British Conventions which ensure the rights to Freedom and Liberty. It inherited a judicial system from the British, which is based on natural justice and the principles of jurisprudence.
India, has been in the forefront of the struggle against colonialism and apartheid. It is a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, and has acceded to the two International Covenants on Civil and Political Rights and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in 1979. In fact the Indian constitution guarantees almost the entire gamut of Civil and Political Rights, and the Directive Principles of State Policy, which form a part of the Constitution, require the Government to promote social and economic rights.
Strange then that India should come under criticism for alleged violations of Human Rights.
No one disputes the fact that at times, faced with the violence perpetrated by the terrorists, some violations have been caused by the security forces also. The question arises have the excesses been condoned? What are the safety valves? The institutions of democracy - the legislature, the judiciary and the press - have played a vital role, in putting a break on the executive and ensuring the Human Rights are not violated with impunity. The Parliament of India and the State Legislatures keep the Executive under close scrutiny. India has an independent Judiciary and a free Press. Alleged excesses have been exposed in the Press, and taken up by the Legislatures and in some cases followed up suo-moto by the Judiciary. In the recent past, the country has also seen the emergence of many non-Government organizations, which have taken up the cause of Human Rights. And more importantly a National Human Right Commission was set up recently.