- "Selective behaviour harmful to democracy," the Prime Minister said
- "Rghts are violated when viewed via political spectacles," PM Modi said
- "Some People dent country's image in name of human rights," PM Modi said
A "selective" approach to human rights dents the country's image, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday, as he lashed out at "some" who viewed human rights "with an eye on political gains and loss" and were therefore harming the practice of such rights and democracy.
"Some people see human rights violations in some incidents but not in others. Human rights are violated when viewed via political spectacles. Selective behaviour is harmful to democracy," he said.
"Some try to dent the country's image in the name of human rights... Looking at human rights with an eye on political gains and loss harms these rights as well as democracy," he added.
Speaking at an event to mark the 28th Founding Day of the National Human Rights Commission, the Prime Minister lauded his government's "sabka saath, sabka vikas" campaign slogan, and declared it reflected "basic principle of human rights for all".
Also at the event was Home Minister Amit Shah, on whom NHRC chief - former Supreme Court judge Justice Arun Mishra - lavished praise for starting "a new era in Jammu and Kashmir".
Mr Mishra also claimed "it is now a norm to accuse India of human rights violation at the behest of international forces" - a reference to the United Nations Human Rights chief's remarks that "restrictive measures in Kashmir can result in human rights violations".
Congress leader Jairam Ramesh tweeted a furious response to the remarks by the Prime Minister and Mr Mishra, accusing the PM and Home Minister of Amit Shah of making "mockery of human rights".
"The Prime Minister and Home Minister have made a mockery of human rights since their Gujarat days. Now they are joined in the jugalbandi by Chairman of NHRC no less, a judge who sat in judgment on his own earlier order and claimed no conflict of interest," he tweeted.
"The democratic space in India continues to shrink."
The PM & HM have made a mockery of human rights since their Gujarat days. Now they are joined in the jugalbandi by Chairman of NHRC no less, a judge who sat in judgment on his own earlier order and claimed no conflict of interest. The democratic space in India continues to shrink— Jairam Ramesh (@Jairam_Ramesh) October 12, 2021
The PM's comments also came amid national fury (reflected in international publications as well) over the killing of four farmers in UP's Lakhimpur Kheri earlier this month.
All four were taking part in a peaceful protest when they were run over by a car allegedly driven by junior Union Home Minister Ajay Mishra's son.
Opposition parties slammed the BJP on what they say was abuse of even basic human rights - including the right to protest safely and the right to justice.
The BJP hit back with Union Minister Anurag Thakur accusing them of "political tourism"; this was after Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's visits to the farmers' families. Ms Gandhi Vadra was in Lakhimpur today to participate in the "antim ardas (final rites)" held by the families.
Mr Thakur, quoted by news agency ANI, then appeared to try and score a political point by flagging law and order issues in Congress-ruled states like Punjab and Rajasthan.
The question of human rights has loomed large over the government, with critics attacking over Narendra Modi administration over the situation in J&K and the nationwide farmers' protest, with horrific scenes of protesters being lathi charged by police of some states evoking outrage.
In August Supreme Court Chief Justice NV Ramana underlined the "sacrosanct" nature of human rights and said that if India were to remain "a society governed by rule of law" it was necessary to ensure that even the most vulnerable enjoyed its full protection.
With input from ANI