State India is wearing a new look. Or seems to, at least. Wont tolerate human right abuse anywhere on the globe. Even won’t mind embittering relations with the countries guilty of human rights violations. Respect of human dignity and value of life seems to have scrubbed Indian state of all stains of bigoted nationalism and myopic version of ‘national interests’.
Casting her self into a new mould India on 22nd March went in synch with Euro-Atlantic political community on its vote against Sri Lankan Government on issue of human rights abuses and war crimes at the United Nations Human Rights Council. Judged in the context of Chinese vote in favor of the Colombo and geo-strategic significance of the Sri Lanka, the emerging scenario is likely to benefit China, casting shadow on India’s traditionally strong diplomatic relationship and its strategic leverage with Sri Lanka. But unmindful of the implications that this posturing of new Delhi unfolds, India has signaled that it is adopting anew behavior pattern in demand of its cherished ambition of becoming a permanent member of UN Security Council. For the past so many years India has been pushing hard that world should treat her as an emerging global power and concede a permanent membership for her.
There is no denying the fact that Sri Lankan Government grossly violated the human rights in combating Tamil insurgency. It is accused of killing thousands of Tamil civilians in the final stage of the anti-LTTE resistance. And Indian government vote in condemnation of state-sponsored terrorism has to be appreciated. Notwithstanding the fact that this drift is political motivated and is driven more by political exigencies than ethical considerations.
But this pro-human rights concern of new Delhi, that knows no diplomatic barriers of ‘intervention in our internal affairs’ will, ipso facto , mean that India will be judged by the same yardstick it used against Sri Lanka and would be bound by the same standards on human rights situation from now on. In other words international community will now talk about Kashmir , human rights abuses India perpetrated in Kashmir, its continuous denial in implementing dozens of UN resolutions on Kashmir. It will be excruciatingly difficult for India to hide under the usual refrain of Kashmir being the ‘integral part’ of India, so it would not brook ‘non-interference in internal affairs’.
Lo sayaaad aaf apanay jaal mein aa gayai (the hunter has of its own hands snared into the web of intrigue). The vote at UNHRC create a precedent for India wherever and whenever a similar situation arises. Regarding disclosure of unmarked mass-graves in different parts of J&K, the international body, Human Rights Watch , in its world report of 2012 said that although the government has promised a thorough inquiry a credible investigation is impossible without the cooperation of the army and federal para-military forces, which “hide behind the immunity provisions of the AFSPA and other laws”.
Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, Brad Adams, accusing Indian government of lack of seriousness and sincerity in bringing to justice the guilty cops, stated that the human Rights Commission investigation of 38 sites in North Kashmir and the discovery of 2730 unmarked mass graves was as good first step for providing justice to the victims. However, ‘the government should no longer allow army to hide behind claims about troops morale or operation needs as an excuse for immunity’, Adams said. Ridiculing at the Indian Prime Ministers much trumpeted claim of ‘zero tolerance’, the HRW report said, “Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s call for “zero tolerance” of abuses by the Armed Forcers has been under cut by the near zero progress in holding the abusers responsible”.
It is in place to mention that after its inquiry revealed that there are more than 2000 unknown bodies buried at different sites in North Kashmir, SHRC has asked the government of Jammu and Kashmir to investigate into all alleged 4000 unmarked graves found at different sites in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu. Association of parents of Disappeared Persons had filed a rejoinder with the SHRC on its investigative report about the presence of the unmarked graves in Kashmir (K), stating there are at least 2717 unknown graves at 90 sites in Poonch and another 1127 unmarked graves in 118 sites in Rajouri.
Forgetting its track record in Kashmir, which in no way is less brutal, despicable and condemnable, India went to Geneva, thousands of kms away, to express solidarity with the Tamil victims and showcase its concern for human dignity. Good. But what about Kashmir? India’s morale standing to sit in the judgment of Human Rights violations in the other countries stands strongly challenged by Kashmir. Kasmir is stalking and haunting India badly.