Today, Bhopal promised to strive for human rights for all. Hundreds of people were part of a human chain which extended from Polytechnic Square to Iqbal Maidan. People stood for the rights of all who have been historically marginalized and continue to be treated shabbily and disrespectfully. People committed themselves to the rights of women, children, men irrespective of caste, class, identity.
Human rights are not violated in another corner of the world.. but on a daily basis in the nooks and corners of our streets and homes. As people live their lives, toiling and striving for survival, the impoverished are rebuked and snided for their conditions, women are violated as they strive to find an equal place in the world. People are looked down upon as objects and scum. This is while the state government continues its propaganda tactics and politics of division, without seeing people as ‘humans’.
It has become more difficult to ensure people’s rights to life, liberty and security in the world. The state has been working to promote hatred amongst people. It is this hatred and insensitivity that came out when Shambunath Raigarh of Rajsamund killed a Muslim for his religion two days back. It was this callousness that Gandhi Nagar police personnel of Bhopal lived while Indramal Bai howled in pain burning in front of them. People have lost a sense of kinship and brotherhood. There is little that is done to prevent the violations and to create the sense of brotherhood and understanding across caste, class and gender. Making more severe punishments as giving death penalty is not going to bring an end to the problem; if it had, we would not have seen the brutal rape of the minor in Sagar just a week after the announcement of capital punishment. A change in mindset and a definite assurance of justice, however big or small is the punishment, is what matters.
But the struggle for justice is much more challenging when the perpetrators are of a higher caste and class. It becomes impossible when they are members of the state itself, may this be the armed forces or the police.
In the past five days at the dharna site, hundreds of people joined in the struggle for justice for Indramal. People stayed day and night under the open sky. But it did not bother the state. Not one official came to meet the people. Even after representatives met senior state officials, there was no real response. It is evident that the police and the administration work in collusion, even in the case of denial of justice. The DIG (Urban) had on the first day of the dharna met a small group in his office and showed his inability to meet the legitimate Constitutional demands of filing of an FIR on the same day but had promised justice for Pardhis. Today, six days later, we still wait for action against the accused. Can justice be expected when the accused comes from the same Department that is investigating the matter?
As we enter the 70th year of the Declaration of Human Rights, we realize that the principles enshrined in the Declaration are as important today as they were in 1948. The violations continue at each and every step. We shall continue to stand up for our own rights and those of others.
Today, we leave the Roshanpura Square, disappointed with the apathy of the state but knowing there are many more people from all walks of life who are with us and can see through the hollow functioning of the state. The struggle for justice for Indramal shall continue. The struggle for making a better world, where women and the working class are treated with respect, shall continue.
Living the life of dignity is an integral part of human rights. Therefore on this international day of human rights, we pledge to strive for our own rights and those of others.
Har Zor Zulm kee takkad mein, sangharsh hamara nara hai!
Akhil Bharatiya OBC Mahasabha, All India Democratic Party, Aam Aadmi Party, Bahujan Gondwana Party, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, Bharatiya Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Eka, Madhya Pradesh Mahila Manch, Shahri Mazdur Sangathan, Soochna Adhikar Manch, many more organizations and individuals