Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday criticized those interpreting human rights and weighing them with the scales of political profit and loss, saying such conduct is harmful to human rights and democracy. Speaking at the 28th Foundation Day celebrations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Prime Minister said that in recent years, some people have started interpreting human rights in their own way, looking at their own interests. He said that by behaving in a selective manner, some people try to damage the image of the country in the name of human rights violation and the country has to be alert from such people.
The Prime Minister did not name any individual or organisation. The ruling BJP, however, has been critical of a section of human rights groups, including those with a global presence. The party believes that these groups selectively and unilaterally take up cases of human rights violations allegedly to target the government. In his address, Modi said, “Human rights are greatly violated when they are given a political colour, viewed through a political lens, weighed with the scales of political profit and loss. Such selective behavior is equally harmful to democracy.
He said that in the same type of incident some people see human rights violation and in any other similar incident the same people do not see human rights violation. The Prime Minister said that over the years, the country has tried to remove the injustice being done at different levels in different sections. In his address, Modi also outlined the various steps taken by his government for the empowerment of the poor, women and the differently-abled. He said that for decades Muslim women had been demanding a law against triple talaq and his government has given new rights to Muslim women by enacting a law against triple talaq.
The Prime Minister said that today many areas of work have been opened up for women, and it is being ensured that women can work round the clock with complete security. He said that the big countries of the world are not able to do this but today India is giving 26 weeks maternity leave with salary to the working women. Modi said, “Today the country is running on the basic mantra of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas and Sabka Prayas’. This is in a way the basic spirit of ensuring human rights.
The Prime Minister said that India has consistently given the world a new perspective on issues related to equality and human rights. He said, ‘In the last decades, many such opportunities have come before the world, when the world has been confused, lost. But India has always been committed to human rights, has been sensitive.
“It is important to understand that human rights are not only related to rights but it is also a matter of our duties,” the Prime Minister said. He said, ‘Rights and duties are the two paths on which the journey of human development and human dignity proceeds and duties are as important as rights and should not be looked at separately, as they complement each other.’
Underlining the government’s efforts, including providing free food grains and cash transfers to the elderly and other vulnerable sections, to help the poor during COVID-19, Modi said a pandemic in the past has created instability in the society with such a large population. But India proved all the apprehensions wrong with its work done for the rights of the common man. He said, ‘I feel proud that despite the peak of Covid-19, 80 crore Indians got free food grains. Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayas guarantee the human rights of every individual.
He also referred to farmer friendly measures like cash transfer and crop insurance and said that these efforts have resulted in record production of crops during the crisis. Talking about the efforts of the government to ensure the dignity of the poor, the Prime Minister said that the poor who were once forced to go in the open for defecation, when they get a toilet, they also get dignity. He said that in the same way, when the Jan Dhan account of the poor who could never muster the courage to go inside the bank, he gets encouragement, his dignity increases.
Similarly, measures like RuPay card, Ujjwala gas connection for women and property rights to pucca houses are major steps in the respective direction, Modi said. The Prime Minister said, “Our movement for independence, our history is a great source of inspiration for human rights for India.” Remembering Mahatma Gandhi, “As a nation, As a society, we have resisted injustice and tyranny, we have fought for our rights for centuries. At a time, when the whole world was burning in the violence of World War, India suggested the path of ‘right and non-violence’ to the whole world. Not only the country, but the whole world sees our Bapu as a symbol of human rights and human values.
The National Human Rights Commission was constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993. The commission takes cognizance of cases related to human rights abuses, investigates it and recommends compensation for the victims. Along with this, the commission also takes legal measures against public servants who violate human rights.