On the “International Human Rights defenders’ Day” and eve of “World Human Rights Day” People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), Varanasi and Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), New Delhi with the support from European Union and Dignity Danish Institute Against Torture organized “Interface meeting with the Parliamentarian, policy makers and political parties on the issue of Muslim minority in Uttar Pradesh” on 9th December, 2013 in Speaker Hall, Constitution Club, New Delhi.
The program started with the welcome and key note Address “In ancient republics, torture was tied to citizenship. Torture was inflicted exclusively on non- citizens like slaves, barbarians and foreigners. As an instrument of demarcation, torture delineates the boundary between slaves and free, between the touchable bodies of free citizens and untouchable bodies of the slaves. It is unimaginable that modern democracies like India are as weak as Athenian democracy and the prevalence of practice of torture resemble the Athenian model. Today torture victim include not only terrorists and criminals but street children, migrants, socially marginalized groups and religiously discriminated communities. All of them now fall into the class of quasi citizens. It is time to break conspiracy of silence.
The trend of rising torture based on religion, caste and gender trigger a sense of alarm in the minds of all civilized people of this country. The fight against impunity should be made the cornerstone of a serious approach to the eradication of torture. In addition to the criminalization of torture, it is therefore essential that India develops mechanisms to guarantee the fairness and effectiveness of inquiries.
In the south Asia region, spate of organised violence, police torture, discrimination, physical and psychological attacks on religious minorities have emerged as a real threat for the pluralist and secular democracies. Attacks on Hindu and Christian communities in Pakistan and Bangladesh and targeting of Muslim and Christian communities in India are being increasingly used as a political weapon by the communal and fascist forces Said Lenin Raghuvanshi, General Secretary, PVCHR.
After the keynote address inauguration and screening of documentary “Muslim and; Police: A Perspective”http://vimeo.com/79954953
The documentary prepared on the basis of interactions for almost three months at the grass root level with the members of Muslim community in various Muslim dominated districts of Uttar Pradesh. Documentary sparked the debate in interface.
Mr. Vijay Vineet, Deputy News Editor, Jan Sandesh Times, Varanasi and Mr. Parvez Ahmad, Special Correspondent, Dainik Jagran were honoured with Jan Mitra Award for their uncompromising commitment for the rights of minority in particular & human rights violation in general in Uttar Pradesh.
The book “Repression, Despair and Hope” Mapping of Police torture in four districts of Uttar Pradesh and Strengthening Human Rights Institutions on 1500 cases of human rights violations after comprehensive fact finding exercises in the last 3 years. These cases relate to police torture and communal violence which have affected the minority Muslim community most in Uttar Pradesh. These organisations have legally intervened in these cases and have prepared an analytical report based on the facts and ground experiences during the course of action.
Respect Survivors & Abolish Torture was also inaugurated without Anti – torture law and police reform no real democratic & pluralistic democracy. PVCHR had heightened its advocacy and had utilized the voices of the people in the pursuit of policy changes at varying levels http://www.pvchr.net/2010/07/prevention-of-torture-bill-2010.html. Such visibility of the organization had provided the leverage for its positioning and proactive role in relation to the Torture Prevention of Bill
http://www.prsindia.org/uploads/media/Torture/prevention%20of%20torture%20bill%202010.pdf. It is significant to note that dignity provided substantial inputs to the draft bill that PVCHR had utilized in its policy and advocacy interventions. Mechanisms should include in particular an effective witness and victim protection system, an independent investigative body, a separate mechanism to register the complaints of torture and mandatory sanctions of public officers found of having obstructed the victim's access to justice. Acting decisively to eradicate torture and bring the policing system under the effective framework of the rule of law will be a test for the resilience of democracy of India. It is by its ability to develop law as a shield against abuses of power that the citizens of this country will judge the capacity of their state to respond to their aspirations.
In the panel Mr. Subhedu Bhattacharya, General Manager, Child Right and You (CRY) talked about “Child Rights issue of Muslim minority children in India,” a senior journalist and Advocate Colin Gonsalves talked on the strengthening the functioning of human rights institutions in India.
The Guest of the presidium Mr. Rashid Alvi (Indian National Congress), Mr. Kamal Farooqui, Mr. Bahadur Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Mr. Ali Anwar, (Janata Dal (United), Mr. Daddu Prasad, (Bahujan Samaj Party), Mr. Mohammed Adeeb, (Independent M.P) and Dr. Syeda S. Hameed (Member of Planning Commission and Chancellor, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad), Mr. Deepak Mishra, President (Chintan Sabha),Mr. Shafiqur Rahman Barq ( BSP), Mr. Shailendra Kumar (Samajwadi Party), Mr. Atul Anjan CPI addressed Human Rights defenders and survivors of Muslim community from various parts of Uttar Pradesh.
Shri A.K Singh, prominent political activist and writer highlighted follows points:
- The Government of India must complete all the legislative procedure to implement the Prevention of Torture Act. It must in its definition consider addition of psychological aspect of torture.
- Protection of Minority Rights in India is important for India’s advocate for protection of rights of Hindus in other countries in South Asia
- Efforts must be made to educate bystanders about their duties and responsibilities to help the survivors while torture takes place.
The follows resolution taken in interface.
- The role of judiciary in condoning police atrocities and in not allowing the state to withdraw false cases lodged by police against persons declared innocent by a judicial commission (Justice Nimesh Commission).
- Ratification of UNCAT and enactment of Prevention of Torture Bill
- Enactment of Communal Violence Bill immediately.
- Immediate established of rule of law and appropriate pro-survivors rehabilitation and relief to survivors of survivors pf communal riots in Muzzafarnagar, U.P
The program was attended by eminent personalities Pandit Vikash Maharaj (Sarod Mastro) and Dr. Mahendra Pratap(Historian) Mr. Tathgat Sattpati (M.P) etc.
The best wishes received from President of India, Vice President of India, General Secretary Council of Europe and President of Federation of Islamic Organization in Europe.
The program was moderated by Utkarsh Sinha and Dr. Mahendra Pratap gave vote of thanks.