Every human being is born with rights solely for the fact that they’re human beings. No individual has the right to violate these rights of their fellow citizens. These rights were formerly referred to as Natural Rights in the sixteen hundred by English philosopher John Locke. They are moral principles or norms that are regularly protected by the government.
India being such a huge country has a great history of human rights violation. Even though a democracy, speaking against high ranked officials and powerful ministers have always stripped people of their basic rights. Harassing journalist, prosecuting activists and human rights defenders are just a few of the cases that come to light. No accountability of past cases that stay buried under the the bills of the powerful, even when new allegations of extrajudicial killings and torture are on the rise.
In 2018, 32 policemen were killed by militants in South Kashmir. In retaliation for the arrest of the relatives of the militants, 11 relatives of several policemen were kidnapped. A 17-year-old boy was killed by them under the suspicion that he was a police informer. Reports released on these issues by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights were dismissed by the government saying “fallacious, tendentious and motivated”.
Many such human rights violations have also been reported in Kashmir against the Indian military after the Pulwama Attack in 2019. The allegations include the killing of any civilian seen as a threat or under the suspicion of terrorism, sexual abuse and raping of women civilians and suppression of freedom of speech.
Many mob attacks are registered on religious minorities, marginalised communities and critics of
the government. Moreover, being the leaders of a secular state, some senior BJP leaders publicly support mob attacks and make inflammatory speeches against minorities and promote Hindu supremacy, encouraging attacks on innocent civilians.
After the formation of the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, 63 people died in alleged extrajudicial killings by state police between March 2017 and August 2018 highlighting the lack of accountability for police abuse and the need for police reform.
Displacement of the tribal people because of mining, dams and other infrastructural projects still continues to plague human rights activists. Detainment of activists for sedition, describing police abuse against protesters and arresting a folk singer for singing in a protest meeting criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi are parts of the hundreds of cases against freedom of speech and expression.
Women have always been in the worst position when it comes to oppression and deprivation of opportunities. Numerous cases of rape across the country expose the failure of the country’s judicial system. Lack of witnesses and victim protection laws make the girls and women more vulnerable to threats and harassment. The #MeToo movement has become a sensation. Numerous women have come up and shared their accounts of sexual harassment and assault in the workplace on their social media. These are a few instances of human rights violations all over India which have been marked.
Apart from these violations, there have also been cases of restoration. In 2014, the Supreme Court of India protected the rights and freedoms of the transgender people under the Constitution and also decriminalised adult consensual same-sex relationships in September 2018.
Also, the government passed an ordinance introducing capital punishment for those who are convicted of raping a girl child under 12 years of age, though that did not lessen the number of rape cases. Still, child trafficking, child labour and poor access to education for children from economically marginalized communities remain issues of serious concern.
This period of lockdown has still not decreased the violation of human rights. To enforce the lockdown and make it more successful, police forces have been assigned and those who are found on the streets have been in some cases physically beaten as well.
Simultaneously, millions of migrant workers who were promised food and shelter by the government were not given those amenities and forced to return to their own respective states. Due to the shut down of public transport they resorted to walking their journey home without food, proper clothes and even shoes. Many died on their journey back due to exhaustion and starvation while others died on the rail tracks cleaved by the trains as they rested on the tracks.