Human rights norms should be redefined in Indian context: Amit Shah

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NEW DELHI: Home minister Amit Shah on Saturday said global human rights norms — which tend to focus on police atrocities, custodial deaths and extra-judicial killings — need to be redefined in the Indian context to include denial of a life of dignity due to poverty and rising violence.
Speaking at the 26th Foundation Day celebrations of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) here, Shah said that while police atrocities, unexplained custodial deaths and extra-judicial killings should be avoided at all costs, there was also a need to spell out “human rights” in the Indian context and widen its scope to include rights of citizens to a life of dignity with access to basic facilities like health, security, toilets, housing, education etc.
Bringing up the example of Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said around 40,000 people have been killed due to terrorist violence since 1990. “Didn’t their families have human rights?” he asked. “Due to Naxalism, many districts in the country have been denied the fruits of development. Many lives have been lost, many families destroyed, widowed women left to take care of their families. I maintain that there cannot be a more serious human rights violation than the suffering of people hurt by terrorism and Left-wing extremism,” he stated.
Shah, in his speech delivered in the presence of NHRC chairperson Justice H L Dattu and other members of NHRC, stated: “I believe human rights norms as seen by the world and in the Indian context are very different. If we evaluate our human rights record as per world norms, it won’t be right. We must redefine human rights to include efforts of individuals and organisations working at the grassroots for upliftment of the poor”.
“The biggest challenges to human rights in our country are poverty and rise in violence. The 5 crore homeless people, 15 crore without access to LPG, 50 crore lacking access to health facilities and 10 crore people without toilets four years ago were all facing violation of their human rights. The Modi government has tried to fight poverty and assure human rights to around 70 crore people by reaching them these facilities,” he stated.
“If NHRC envisions human rights in this context and works with the government as well as many NGOs and organisations working at the grassroots to reach welfare to the deprived masses, this would become the most comprehensive effort across the world to secure human rights,” he stated.
“I urge NHRC to analyse the denial of “human rights” as per the widened definition, and suggest where efforts need to be intensified and leakages plugged. The government will promptly act on NHRC suggestions in this regard,” he stated.

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