By Abhinita Mohanty:
Every human has the right to live with dignity and get equal opportunity which will unleash all his/her potentials to the fullest. These lines sum up the concept of human rights. In the contemporary times, human rights are being abused at every instance in the name of national security and curbing terrorism. I do not intend to downplay the seriousness of terrorism as it haunts almost every part of the world today. The question here is, will we be able to control this by abusing the rights of the innocents? I would rather say that terrorism will increase if people’s basic rights are abused.
In the Indian jails, especially in the prisons of Kashmir and other parts of India, many innocents continue to languish in prisons for years without any proof of their involvements in acts of terror. People are many times allegedly picked off from homes at mere suspicion (without any evidence) or sometimes taken off to prison to settle old disputes. This also happens when the police are under pressure to act immediately after a terrorist attack. In such cases, the innocent victims are tortured for years and even killed inside the dark walls of prison at times. It’s no wonder that when they come out of jails or their surviving kin if they die, become very much influenced to wage a war against the nation for revenge. The problem lies with the fact that when only some people in a community join the terror outfits, the entire community of people come under scanner and scrutiny. This sort of generalization and stereotyped image need to be debunked from popular perception. In many cases these people are put in jails without being produced in courts and without trial. This is a gross and shameful violation of human right.
In every society there remains certain relative deprivation, discrimination and inequality based on ethnicity or religion. A sort of alienation always haunts a certain section of people in every nation due to various social and political factors. It may include ridicule, fear of dominance by the culture of the majority, non integration into the ideology of nationalism, discrimination and provocation by certain political elements etc. These factors many times are the sole causes for the emergence of terrorism. The duty of the state is to try curbing these problems. When a society faces such threats, strict measures to check it is quite obvious and necessary but it must be ensured that in this war to tackle the problem of security, no innocent individuals are harmed or in no way are any rights of a person curbed. This will not only ‘falsely’ criminalize the innocents but will produce more criminals among the already alienated milieu. It is always said that an injured soul is always dangerous with a lust for revenge and violence. Many instances of violation of rights have recently come to the limelight. The question of violation of human rights brings to the forefront the women prisoners who are its most common victims. In the name of involvement in terror activities these women are brutally abused, beaten and raped.
An example can be given about the Soni Sori case, a tribal woman who was accused of being involved in Maoist activities. After being arrested she was sexually tortured by the Chhattisgarh State Police by orders from then police Superintended (SP). She was forced to be naked and tortured. Later the doctors removed stones that were inserted into her vagina and rectum. The alleged SP who sat there watching all these and giving such inhuman orders was awarded police medal for gallantry on the Republic Day, 2012. I do not know if Sori is guilty or not but the way she was tortured puts a question mark on our so called refined and civilized society. Many activists were shocked to hear that such a person who can go to such extreme violation of human rights can be awarded! Today in many parts of India, innocent tribals are killed, beaten or their houses burnt on one pretext or another, rather than giving protection to their rights, creating an egalitarian society for them and reducing poverty.
Both internal and external security is a matter of concern and every effort should be made to tackle anti national forces but at the cost of the lives and rights of the citizens. This cannot be said as a positive development in our strategy to fight terrorism and violence. Terrorists deserve no mercy but terrorizing and abusing rights of innocents should be treated equally as a crime. The increasing abuse of rights has led to eruption of more violence everywhere; instead of scaling it down. It can rightly be said that we are using the wrong weapon to fight for the right cause.