The Prime Minister explained his human rights concerns on the twenty-eighth anniversary of the founding of the National Human Rights Commission.The Prime Minister explained his human rights concerns on the twenty-eighth anniversary of the founding of the National Human Rights Commission.

In the week that the son of a Bollywood star, Dussehra, spent in prison without being formally charged with a crime, it was sobering to hear the Prime Minister lecture us on how human rights activists are using this case to “hurt” India. It’s a real issue, Prime Minister. It’s obviously more real than you think. Aryan Khan’s father is wealthy and can afford the best lawyers. But our prisons are full of hundreds of thousands of young people who are spending months and years in prison just because they can’t afford Indian justice.

Most Indians, including your columnist, shy away from the price lawyers charge to appear in court. So the most important human right, the right to justice, remains unavailable to almost all Indians. It is this and the absence of other rights, which are taken for granted in democratic countries, that makes India look bad. Not the hype made by human rights activists.

The Prime Minister explained his human rights concerns on the twenty-eighth anniversary of the founding of the National Human Rights Commission. He said it was dangerous for democracy when human rights were “selectively targeted”. Then he said something intriguing and disturbing. Human rights are only important for people who already have the basics of life.

He said, “The poor person who has to request a recommendation for a gas connection gets his dignity when the connection reaches him via Ujjwala Yojana.” Here I agree with Mr. Modi. If what he meant was that poverty is the worst human rights violation, I totally agree. What I separate with him is when he says that human rights do not matter to people living in extreme poverty.

Did he completely forget about the emergency? Has he forgotten that the reason why Indira Gandhi and her son lost their seats in 1977 was because ordinary and very poor Indians felt their rights were taken away from them when their men were taken away to be sterilized and when their homes were bulldozed to bits because Sanjay Gandhi wanted to beautify Delhi? Had these two policies not defined a state of emergency in northern India, it is possible that Indira Gandhi would have won. We must not forget that she won in 1977 in the southern states where Sanjay’s family planning and “resettlement” policies did not exist.

Human rights may not matter to ordinary China because China has never been a democracy. They are very important in India because the roots of democracy are deeply rooted and if Mr. Modi is angry at the “bad image” India has got, he is responsible for it. Since becoming prime minister, he has shown that his government has no qualms about keeping students, dissidents, comedians and journalists in jail just because they don’t agree with his policies.

When a Delhi court judge released some young men who had been in prison for more than a year without charge or trial, he issued restrictions against the Delhi Police for not doing their job well. Last week he was transferred to a lower court.

When it comes to the use of protective custody laws as a weapon, the Prime Minister’s favorite Prime Minister, Yogi Adityanath, has done it not only to imprison people who disagree with him but also to confiscate their property. Some of the people who lost their property were those who saw the Citizenship Amendment Act as discriminatory and took to the streets to protest. In light of the horrific incident on the Singu border, I hesitate to mention the farmers, but they were treated as criminals in both Uttar Pradesh and Haryana before the horror that occurred last week.

In Modi’s ‘new India’, Bollywood is seen as a den of vice. She has been under attack since last year when a young woman’s life was ruined by the suicide of her boyfriend Susanth Singh Rajput. When they were unable to restrict murder, robbery, and incitement to suicide on Rhea Chakraborty, she and her brother were imprisoned by the Narcotics Bureau (NCB) for the purchase and consumption of prohibited substances. After spending a few weeks in prison, they were quietly released.

Aryan Khan may be in deeper trouble as the National Central Bank is now trying to prove it has links to international drug traffickers. Did the intelligence men in this hyperactive office ever think that international drug dealers would try to get as far away from the son of a Bollywood star as possible to divert attention from their nefarious activities?

Last week, a spokesperson for the National Central Bank said that when it comes to drug-related crimes, the justice laws have been slashed. Aryan is presumed guilty until he can prove his innocence. When I tweeted about the absurdity of this, I was immediately attacked by venomous trolls who said I should know this was a law made in the time of Rajiv Gandhi.

Well, time to change it. If the Prime Minister is truly concerned about India’s image in the world, he should be seen as a leader who cares about protecting human rights, not as someone who sees them as an excuse to offend him. Human rights are more important in democratic countries than almost anything else for the simple reason that without sacred human rights, there is no democracy.

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