‘This is a much more sophisticated Emergency’

‘Where you change the law and then say, we are following the law.’
‘The fact is, the law is not meeting any international standards.’
‘How can you call UAPA or PMLA a law when you are guilty until proven innocent?’

“As we celebrate our 75th anniversary of Independence from the British, we need a second Independence movement to fight for our freedoms all over again,” Salil Shetty, former secretary general, Amnesty International, tells Shobha Warrier/Rediff.com in the concluding segment of a two-part interview about the state of human rights in India.

“Democracy is not majoritarianism, democracy is protecting the rights of those who have no voice,” asserts Shetty.

But the government is getting the public’s approval in every election. Does that mean the general public is not bothered about all this?

Hitler also got elected in Germany, with a very good majority. You know what happened afterwards.

When you say the BJP-RSS wins elections, please remember that less than a third of the population votes for them in most elections.

And the vast majority of the people who vote for them are not even aware of the political, moral, health, educational, economic and security crisis the country is facing.

Democracy is not majoritarianism, democracy is protecting the rights of those who have no voice.

When whoever gets the maximum support wins, they can whip up mass frenzy and win.

What are these people doing?

They are completely dependent on creating an anti-Muslim hysteria and polarisation politics in India.

The system in India is such that castes have divided Hinduism.

So, how do you unite the Hindu vote consisting of so many castes and women?

A mass hysteria against the Muslims.

Yes, election-wise, it is a winning strategy. It’s a tested strategy in many countries. But democracy is more than elections.

A comprehensive report endorsed by some of the top independent human rights experts in the world have recently said that the violations against Muslims in India could be investigated as crimes against humanity.

But the outside world is also silent on what is happening here…

No, the world is watching.

The West is silent as they need India for its big market. They need India as an offset to China.

They need the voting population in the US and the UK as it is quite big. And the Diaspora Indians are primarily Hindutva supporters.

So, the Western leaders are compromised. But that doesn’t mean they do not know, or they are not watching.

In 1976, Indira Gandhi declared a political emergency, but this is an undeclared emergency.

This is a much more sophisticated emergency where you change the law and then say, we are following the law. The fact is, the law is not meeting any international standards.

For example, how can you call UAPA or PMLA a law when you are guilty until proven innocent?

As we celebrate our 75th anniversary of Independence from the British, we need a second Independence movement to fight for our freedoms all over again.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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