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Historian who got it wrong

Historian who got it wrong
The right course would have been for Army HQ to have reprimanded Major Gogoi, and his superiors who lauded his offence. Section 46 of the Army Act, 1950, penalises “disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind”.

June 17, 2017

Arjun Subramaniam is an accomplished military historian. His defence of Major Nitin Leetul Gogoi and General Bipin Rawat’s comments does his scholarship little credit (‘What they don’t get’, IE, June 15). Credible accounts state that Farooq Ahmad Dar was paraded over several kilometres, strapped to a jeep with a placard identifying him as a stone-pelter, accompanied by a warning against stone-pelters, over a loudspeaker.

It is nobody’s case that the Indian army is not a disciplined army, with a rigorous chain of command and an esprit de corps. However, there is evidence of aberrations. The right course would have been for Army HQ to have reprimanded Major Gogoi, and his superiors who lauded his offence. Section 46 of the Army Act, 1950, penalises “disgraceful conduct of a cruel, indecent or unnatural kind”.

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Smoke and Mirrors: India’s Human Rights report at the UN

Smoke and Mirrors: India’s Human Rights report at the UN

he final conclusions of UPR on India, like all such reviews, need to be read not in cold print, but between the lines
May 24, 2017

The career Indian diplomat is a grandmaster in the art of obfuscation. However, the mendacity of the submissions by the Indian delegation during the examination of India’s record during the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of its human rights record convinced only the naïve back home – and some duplicitous governments in the United Nations.

The final conclusions of UPR on India, like all such reviews, need to be read not in cold print, but between the lines. At the outset, it must be remembered that when it comes to the implementation of universal rights and norms on human rights, the “United Nations” must in fact be read in reverse – it is “Nations United”, countries against their peoples. Most would rather ignore their populations’ clamour for accountability and rights. This, in spite of the valiant efforts of the present UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the under-resourced but intrepid UN Human Rights machinery. Most governments do the human rights tango only when it suits their expedient geo-political realities.

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Striking An Own Goal: The NHRC Submission to the United Nations

Striking An Own Goal: The NHRC Submission to the United Nations
Saturday, May 27,2017

NEW DELHI: The submission of the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) to the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations is a classic.

Written in a format that would do little credit to a high school student, it symbolizes the deep rot in the NHRC. Bad English, faulty sentence construction, a profusion of unexplained, un-elaborated acronyms, and worst of all, bereft of substance - the quality the submission is a matter of shame, an indication of how seriously the NHRC took its duty of setting out the picture of human rights in this country.

On to the NHRC’s submission to the UPR. Recommendation 4 is as follows: “The legal system continues to be dysfunctional with slow disposal of cases and inordinate delay in giving finality to both criminal and civil litigation.”

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Pellet Guns in Kashmir: The Lethal Use of “Non-Lethal” Weapons

Pellet Guns in Kashmir:

The Lethal Use of “Non-Lethal” Weapons

21/07/2016

The use of pellet guns in Kashmir is a clear violation of human rights and humanitarian law – and needs to be banned immediately.

The government of India and the state government of Kashmir must immediately order their police forces to immediately stop using pellet guns and the lethal cartridges that they use. Any further usage of such weapons, which have caused extensive, arbitrary deaths and grievous wounds, would be not just callous, but a criminal act.

Since July 9, 2016, in the aftermath of the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen leader Burhan Wani, large scale protests and funeral gatherings have been taking place across the Kashmir Valley. The apparently indiscriminate use of allegedly “non-lethal” weapons like pellet guns to control crowds has resulted in 43 civilians having lost their lives so far. Hundreds have been blinded and a few thousand injured.

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Communal Conflict and the Plight of Religious Minorities in India

HRF / 234 / July 2015

Communal Conflict and the Plight of Religious Minorities in India

Its status as a secular democratic state notwithstanding, India has been experiencing increasing incidents of communal violence since the electoral victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2014 in which religious minorities, such as Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, are being targeted by Hindu ultra-nationalist organisations that have the tacit support from some in the central government in India. According to an interim report by a human rights activist, Dr. John Dayal, the first 300 days of the Modi’s government have been marked by 43 deaths among 600 documented cases of violence against Christians and Muslims. The threat that religious minorities face in India is not just a fear of violence against their physical bodies and religious institutions, but the fear that their very existence is at risk in a country dominated by a Hindu majority that is increasingly taking on a fundamentalist hue.

HRF/234/15 [PDF]

 

Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Bill: Another Building Block in the Edifice of Authoritarianism

HRF /233/15 April 2015

Gujarat’s Anti-Terrorism Bill

Another Building Block in the Edifice of Authoritarianism

The Gujarat Control of Terrorism and Organised Crime Bill is the latest effort at the devolution of authoritarianism. This article discusses four draconian provisions, which seem like a throwback to the days of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act of 1987 and the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 2002.

 

There is an old saying that a bad craftsman blames his tools. India has no dearth of laws to deal with violent activity. In addition to the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) 1973 and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860, there are numerous other laws that are equipped to deal with terrorist offences. Among them are,

 

(i) National Security Act, 1980; (ii) Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, as amended; (iii) Disturbed Areas Act;(iv) Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976; (v) The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, as amended 2008; (vi) Prevention of Seditious Meetings Act, 1911; (vii) The Religious Institution (Prevention of Misuse) Ordinance, 1988; (viii) The Anti-Hijacking Act, 1994; (ix) The Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982; (x) Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976; (xi) Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999; (xii) The Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980; (xiii) Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988; (xiv) Indian Telegraph Act; and (xv) Information Technology Act, 2000.

http://www.epw.in/commentary/gujarats-anti-terrorism-bill.html

 

HRF /233/15 [PDF]

 

Priya Pillai Case The Shadows Lengthen

HRF /232/15 | March 2015

The case of Greenpeace India activist Priya Pillai is a stark example of how the space for democratic dissent in India is not only shrinking alarmingly but also of the central government’s parsimony with the truth. In the entire sorry episode underlining the blatant violation of human rights, the Intelligence Bureau, which seems to be a law unto itself, has played a major role. At most times, the Government of India tends to be economical with the truth on issues concerning human rights. The latest evidence of this can be witnessed in the affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in response to the petition filed by Priya Parameswaran Pillai.

Pillai is employed as a policy officer with the Greenpeace India Society that is registered under the Tamil Nadu Societies Registration Act.

 

Akshardham Judgment – I, The Law at Work

HRF/231/14 | Jun 2014

The Supreme Court judgment in the Akshardham temple attack case has acquitted six innocent men who were tortured and then made to suffer imprisonment.
The Supreme Court has come down hard on the investigating agencies of Gujarat and the way in which the lower judiciary has functioned in this case. The apex court must take this forward and revisit the existing prosecutions under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and examine the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act which incorporates many of the POTA provisions.