Human Rights Violation Issues
Everyone in this world is born with equality and inalienable rights. Equality, dignity, mutual respect are three foundation principles forming the basis of human rights regardless of one’s nationality, caste, race and religion. The concept of human rights is the ability to make choices about one’s own life without any difficulties and also to allow others to make their own choices about life. Human rights belong to everyone in this world and it cannot be taken away from anyone. Even government authorities do not possess the right to violate or abolish human rights of its citizens. Any violation or abolishment of human rights by government may stop people to enjoy the rights but it can never be stopped from existing. After the traumatic facts of World War II, officials of 50 member states of United Nations came together to create a detailed list of human rights that everyone must enjoy without any difficulties. Under the umbrella of Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 30 basic human rights have been formed for every human being on 10th December 1948. Today 193 nations are the members of United Nations and every member nation is bound to follow certain code of conducts to maintain human rights to ensure peace and freedom to citizens of the world. However there are instances of violation of human rights in different corners of the world. It has been observed that cases of human rights violation in south asian countries are increasing at an alarming rate especially India. India being a Sovereign, Socialist, Democratic, Republic and Secular nation, have recorded various cases of human rights violation. A country like India which is one of the emerging economy of the world, has not been able to protect the basic human rights for its innocent civilians mostly minorities. Muslims, dalits, women and children have been the regular victims of assaults and humiliation. Rape and military assaults in Jammu & Kashmir has become a regular phenomenon in India. A detailed study has been made here on the cases of human rights violations in India and the causes with possible precautionary measures to stop human rights violations.
Human right issues
Mass Killings in J&K
In January, three construction workers have been killed in an attack on an army camp by members of an active militant armed group in J&K. Another active armed group claimed the responsibility of an attack on a bus carrying Hindu pilgrims in Botengoo in July, killing 8 and injuring 17. On 14 February 2019, a military convoy carrying 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel was attacked by a vehicle borne suicide bomber in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, killing 40 and injuring 5. Suspected armed group members regularly attacks security and police personnel in J&K (Amnesty.org. 2019).
In 1997, Jammu & Kashmir State Human Rights Commission have been formed by virtue of J&K Protection of Human Rights Act, 1997. The independent and autonomous commission is responsible for upholding and protecting human rights in J&K particularly. People from Muslim communities also form part of this commission (Human Rights Watch. 2019).
J&K Human Rights Commission can be more powerful and effective provided there is no interference of the government and political parties. The commission must be vested with more powers and independence to avoid political pressure in order to perform its prime duty to protect the human rights of its civilians.
Inhuman Caste System and Communal Violence
Crimes and assaults motivated by religious beliefs and bias rose up to 93 in 2018 recording a decade high. 30 people were killed in 2018 and 305 injured due to communal violence. Muslims has been a majority in the number of victims. In 2018, around 17% of the communal attacks were on the pretext of inter caste relationships and 15% were motivated from cow protection groups.More than 40000 crimes were reported in 2016 against scheduled castes and dalits (Nhrc.nic.in. 2019). According to activists sources at least 90 dalit men died while cleaning sewers though this practice has been abolished (Amnesty.org. 2019).
Article 30 of the Indian Constitution has granted the fundamental rights to all minorities irrespective of their religion and language to set up and administer the educational institution of their choice. A special relevance has been given to all religious minorities by the preamble to the constitution as states India as a secular country. In accordance with United Nations National Commission for Minorities was formed by virtue of National Commission for Minorities Act,1992 to protect and promote the minorities. Article 338 of the constitution has assigned National Commission for Scheduled Castes to safeguard the rights of scheduled castes and investigate in the cases of deprivation of such rights (Human Rights Watch. 2019).
It has been observed that investigations in all the cases of torture and assaults against minorities be it religious and language, is not conducted properly and without political pressure. There are cases of threats to investigating officials which prevents the true facts being published publicly.
Crimes against Women
According to sources crimes against women went up to 83 percent in 2016 as compared to 2007 contributing to four cases of rape every hour. Rape accounts for 12 percent of all crimes against women (Nhrc.nic.in. 2019). In 2016, 338000 cases were reported including 110000 cases of domestic violence and by relatives. The state of Delhi and Sikkim recorded highest rates of rape in 2016. India is keeping a poor track record of ensuring women safety even after horrifying cases of Delhi, Unnao and Kathua rape case. All these incidents have contributed to the fact that India is one of the most dangerous places for women. Conviction rate of rape cases is just 25 percent in 2016. There are hundreds of cases of domestic violence, marital rapes which go unreported every year (Amnesty.org. 2019).
Indian constitution promotes gender equality and women empowerment with the help of Article 21, 14, 19 and 32. Section 498 also provides the ground for non-bailable offence and punishment of accused of domestic violence. The Legal Services Authorities Act,1987 empowered all the female rape victims with the right to get free legal aid. It is also illegal to arrest women at night. Women also have the special right to lodge a complaint virtually via email or postal service without going to police station physically. Section 354D of Indian Penal Code has made stalking of women by any possible means be it physically or via internet or phone, illegal. Provision of Zero FIR has also been introduced by Supreme Court which states that FIR can be lodged can be lodged at any police station irrespective of the location of the incident occurred or any specific jurisdiction under it comes. Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 is enacted to protect women rights at workplace (India.gov.in. 2019).
In India women in parliament constitute around 11 percent and women in labour force around 27 percent. Most of the accused in rape cases are related to political parties which resulted into biased investigation on the part of the police. There is lack of awareness among women to register cases of domestic violence. Irresponsibility on the part of the government to protect women safety and bring more strict rules to punish the accused. Government has failed to ensure social security to the victims resulting in suicides by the survivors.
Rights to Children Denied
Around 106000 cases of violence against children reported in 2016. National survey data states that 36 percent of children aged below five were underweight and over 38 percent were short for their age. 70 children died in a hospital in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh because of disrupting oxygen supply. Only 1.2 percent of GDP is spent on health, nutrition and preschool education. In 2016, 38947 child rape cases were reported of which in 94 percent cases the accused are related to the victims. In 2016, 4 out of every 10 rape victims were minors. In spite of bans on child labour, cases of child labour especially in family business go unnoticed. More than 30 percent of educational funds are allocated to higher education leaving primary education in pain. A study revealed that around 3 million children are living on the streets and over 150 million children are still working as bonded labours. Despite the provision of compulsory primary education, only 50 percent children get the basic education (Amnesty.org. 2019).
Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act enacted on 4 August 2009 to ensure free and compulsory education to children aged between 6 and 14 years under Article 21A. India is one among the 135 nations to make education a fundamental right to children. Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 to protect children rights to live freely and seek proper justice (Nhrc.nic.in. 2019). National Commission for Child Rights is also formed keeping in mind the child safety issues. Several other NGOs have emerged to address the issues of child rights (India.gov.in. 2019).
With the increase in the cases of child labour and child abuse, there is a need to foster child rights rules in a modern way to make proceedings faster and cleaner. There should be awareness on the part of the guardians to encourage a child to lodge a complaint with the police. Society should also accept victims in a positive way so that victims can lead their lives easily in future. Every family must ensure their child get a good basic education irrespective of their financial positions. More NGOs should come forward to help underprivileged children and there should be more donors for this noble cause.
Press and Journalism in Pain
Press and Journalists came under recent attacks for expressing their freedom of expressions and speech. Journalism has always been targeted for political interests. Basic Right to speech has violated many times to curb critical facts about the ruling governments. In September 2016, journalist named Gauri Lankesh was shot dead in Bengaluru for opposing caste system. While covering political clashes, journalist Shantanu Bhowmick was killed near Agartala. A French filmmaker was also detained for three days for researching on Kashmir conflicts while violating visa rules. 18 murders cases of journalists were reported from 2008 to 2018. Since 1992 48 journalists were killed. In 23 years only one murder case has been prosecuted. India refused to participate in UNESCO’s impunity accountability mechanism which requested status of killed cases (Amnesty.org. 2019).
Committee to Protect Journalists was formed as an independent non-profit organisation to promote press freedom worldwide. The Working Journalist Act has been introduced to protect the interest of the journalists. Press Council Act 1978 also ensures freedom of speech and expression of the journalists. With the emergence of powerful social media any cases of assaults and harassments are exposed clearly to public unlike earlier days.
Social media has a huge role in protecting the rights of the journalists and press workers today. Any news of insults is reaching billions of people within clicks resulting in huge protests against such acts nationwide. Today nothing is unknown. A specialised law or act must be enacted with more strict provisions to punish offenders in these cases. Opposition parties must play a vital role in this process.
As India celebrates its 71st birthday, violations of human rights are increasing at an alarming rate over a period of time. Mostly government officials and people having political backgrounds are involved in the cases. Press and journalism is under constant attacks and threats since the British rule. Sometimes child rights are violated as result of poverty in India. Several corrective measures have been taken to curb such cases. Shakti programme is initiated to train women in self defence which was organised in schools and colleges. Conviction rates of crimes against women must be increased to favorable highs by fearlessly probing the cases and arresting the accused irrespective of their political influence. More women must be included in police and armed forces so as to empower women. More tax rebates must be given to donors who donate to any children education funds to encourage poverty stricken children to get basic primary education. Government officials must act independently and without fearing transfers orders. Instead of using minorities as a vote bank, their issues must be dealt with utmost urgency which will result in more peaceful and growing country. Press and media should stop being puppets of the ruling party and should be freed from any political influence to express impartial views and share true news updates without hiding critical facts. National Human Rights Commission should be given more powers to act rigorously and independently along with the state human rights organisations. A uniform human rights campaign must be started by the government to protect its own citizens in its own interest.