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As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, it is time for a serious introspection as why after 70 years the wheel of the rights has turned full and returning to haunt us again. The UDHR came into being after much chaos, anarchy, killings and destruction of the second world war when the world was in a state of depression. Thanks to the quality of leadership that time, we got into this and UDHR came into being. A wonderful document that was followed by various other covenants and treaties ensuring world peace as well as protection of citizens. As the human rights definitions changed and wider context of culture, economy, society, environment and development too came into it, the right wing assault on it has started.

On December 10th, 1948, India was a proud member among those who had signed the UDHR along with other fourty eight countries in Paris. But 70 years down the line, India face the biggest threat institutionally towards the Human Rights. Communal violence has grown and state has clearly shown that one kind of people are not accepted to it. It has clearly shown that it is unable to accept ‘equality of citizenship’. The Indian leaders at the moment have shown clearly that they are not ready to accept the Indian Muslims as equal citizens of the country. The others who stand for them are being targeted. Adivasis are being killed in the name of Naxals while intellectuals supporting freedom being termed as urban naxals. The Hindutva planning is developed through building up a narrative and then building up the mob culture against that culminating through intimidation by the state institutions.

What happened in Bulandshahar was not shocking given the nature political patronage to the goons abusing the people in the name of ‘Mandir Wahi Banayenge’ but the way Yogi Adityanath government shamelessly sabotaged the probe of the Uttar Pradesh police diverting the attention of the probe agencies to the army jawans and leaving the goons of the Bajrang Dal to remain absconding giving interviews to their PR agents is a dangerous to say the least. I am not sure whether we are expecting too much from our courts and human rights institutions who too depend on the state apparatus but then we need to be depend on them.

So far no international human rights group or even those working on religious intolerance have focused on India and Hindutva’s attempt to convert this country into a theocratic state.

No country can ever grow if nearly 14% population is reduced to a second graded citizen. How long will we allow these goons to take law unto their hand. Just yesterday, they went shouting slogan to demolish Jama Masjid and the police allowed them to do so. The disgrace the Hindutva forces are bringing into India is enormous and yet the media continue to provide them space and legitimise them.

Untouchability, caste discrimination, gender violence continues unabated. In fact, in last four years, a new crop of state sponsored ‘intellectuals’ have been ‘born’ to justify the caste system who are ‘researching’ how it was ‘injected’ by the British. Let us assume that it were the British who taught us being casteist but why we follow it now. How much have we done to finish it. The leaders are promising that if we come back to power, we will allow the child marriages.

A country which is far below in fulfilling its promises to poor, reducing rural poverty and discrimination is putting all the energy into making a temple and speaking about issues which are redundant. Definitely, our neighbors and enemies will never want us a strong nation which is not possible through building up statues and invoking brahmanical gods over us. A country will become stronger with inclusion and space for all those who live here and have inherited it from generations of their forefathers.

Just as I conclude it, a report comes that India will not be able to meet SDG target of complete elimination of hunger and poverty even 2030. This report by the international organisation is a fact because the current leaders want India into dark ages, fighting against each others and making people beggars so that the powerful castes continue to dominate the political discourse. Poverty will only end once the caste system finishes and none is interested in it because annihilation of caste means end of brahmanical hegemony. Are we prepared for that ?

Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: vbrawat@gmail.com

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