At NHRC, Amit Shah says don’t apply western norms of rights here

Amit Shah at the 14th Annual Convention of the Central Information Commission in New Delhi on Saturday. (Source: PTI)

Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that India’s human rights policy must focus on the rights of civilians killed by militants or Maoists as much as it does on police atrocities and custodial deaths.

“There is no bigger violation of human rights than those affected by militants in Kashmir or Naxals. We must look at these issues with an Indian outlook,” Shah said, while speaking at the 26th foundation day of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Shah, who was the chief guest at the event, said that western standards of human rights cannot be blindly applied to Indian issues. “Women not having access to toilets and safe methods of cooking is a human rights issue. Modi government has ensured upliftement of millions of individuals from these situations,” he said, enumerating the government’s efforts at increasing the standard of living.

The Union minister said that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership, India is moving towards a scenario where there will be no human rights violations.

“India has an inbuilt framework of human rights. Our family values have special protection of women and children, and villages look after the poor believing it to be part of their dharma,” he said.

NHRC chairperson and former Chief Justice of India H L Dattu said that the government has supported the commission in fulfilling its mandate. “The Home Minister’s presence is a source of encouragement to NHRC,” he said.

Dattu added that the NHRC has fulfilled its mandate by tackling pressing issues related to bonded labour and custodial deaths.

According to the commission, in 2018-19, the backlog of legal cases has significantly reduced, and only cases which were filed after 2017 are currently pending. It said that the NHRC has heard and decided 691 cases and granted compensation worth Rs 25.38 crore.

Dattu credited senior IPS officer Prabhat Singh, Director General (Investigation) of the NHRC who was appointed in January, with bringing down the pendency of cases.