The industry of human rights
Recently there was a theft case reported with the police against a maid by her employer at the apartment complex here. She was picked up for questioning by police and later sent home asking to present herself the next morning at the station. The following day there was a sudden twist – Humanity was wafting in the air – a lawyer and a Human Rights activist were standing behind her now. A case was filed with KSHRC alleging torture at the hands of the police, rumors of her hospitalization as a consequence of the torture were floated and a protest was organized by all above actors. Did you think it was in front of the police station, NO! It was organized in the apartment complex because a resident employer had dared to report.
There was ruckus at the entrance with a huge crowd headed by the allegedly tortured maid along with the lawyer and an external activist. They were instigated to sloganeer and protest by the lawyer and the activist. Even media reporters had fraudulently gained entry pretending to be Mufti Police. Since it was a large group of women the security guards could not physically stop the barging entrants.
It looked like a well-orchestrated legal package – there was a lawyer, a human rights activist and the media. They were now sloganeering and demanded that the resident apologize and be handed over to them. They had literally mobbed the resident’s doorstep creating ruckus that had to be controlled by calling the police. The just out of hospital accused maid was heading the protest along with the activist and lawyer duo. They had successfully traumatized and intimidated the resident who had only rightfully exercised his fundamental right and reported the matter to the law keeping forces.
A little background: The said lawyer assisting her in the case is an ex tenant who ran a cafeteria at the premises but was pulled up for defaulting on payments and had to shut shop. The man had also filed suits against the association office. Incidentally this maid now caught in a theft case was working for him previously hence she had sought his aid.
Whether or not she was guilty or tortured as alleged, whether the lawyer was genuinely assisting her on sympathetic grounds or vendetta is anybody’s guess but even while the investigations were still on ‘The Hindu’ carried a news article that canonized the theft story into that of victimhood with a false narrative that the residents too had protested when no resident had participated, there was not a single line about the employer’s side of the story. The media, the lawyer and the activist had trespassed into a residential apartment complex violating security norms and instigated the mob that had the potential to cause physical harm and damage to property clearly putting an entire community’s safety security and property at risk.
Now why would an activist go to the extent of supporting an accused by trespassing a resident complex and campaign for Human Rights when the case was still being investigated? Even if there was any truth in the torture theory why did they protest before the residents and not the police when they were the alleged perpetrators?
So who are these Human Rights activists and how do they work?
In this case the self-proclaimed activist who was instrumental in creating the ruckus is a TISS graduate who runs an organization called Stree Jagruti Samithi that claims to fight for the human rights and equal treatment of domestic laborers. This organization receives support from SICHREM (South India Cell For Human Rights Education and Monitoring) in association with Childline Foundation which is tied up with our Union Ministry Of Women and Child Development.
But why do such parallel activisms happen when we have an elaborate system of law and order under our constitution?
SICHREM talks about empowering the disempowered sections like Dalits, Tribals, Women, Children and Minorities to protect their individual and collective rights for a dignified life by making Human Rights a household concept by advocating rights based value system as they claim in their website. They also monitor RTE.
This kind of an empowerment of only few sections would mean negating another person’s fundamental right to seek justice under law or negating the very system of law itself by setting up parallel justice systems. Human rights violation across the world today is a reality where most international laws, policies of redressal are often ratified only to be misused by the predatory powerful vested interests in the geo-political one-upmanship. In the name of human rights many a stereotyped narratives are fanned and floated where vice or virtues are attributed according to the social or economic status or religious identities and have little to do with truth.
This is the reason why a car driver is at fault even when the bicyclist or the pedestrian breaks the rules, this is the reason a murderous activity like stone throwing is pushed as misled separatism. It is the same rights’ based value system with no obligation towards duties that these Human Rights activists dream to enforce. So what does it really mean when they say – making Human Rights a household concept, what really is the intent behind such activism (let us consider this case of theft here) and if enforced what would it achieve:
Firstly it would reduce the belief in scope of law and order by silencing the affected masses even when robbed of their possession by infusing theories of victimhood on the accused even when at fault. This would automatically brew hate for the rich and successful and vice-versa driving a wedge between employers and the domestic helpers. The thriving middle class and the domestic helpers form an integrated support system for mutual economic prosperity and any distrust would break this chain.
It would render the police forces toothless tying their hands to act against disrupters of law under the garb of Human rights. While there are genuine cases of human rights violation that really needs redressal, human rights activism to the police is what the stone pelters and article 370 is to the army. It would also take away an ordinary citizen’s right to justice and set up a parallel system of law and would eventually lead to increased rates of unemployment, crimes and mob culture.
How do they(SICHREM) operate?
Their mode of operation is through counselling programs and helplines across Karnataka and Andra Pradesh. They have an army of advocates, rights activists mostly TISS products who run the show. If JNU is a laboratory, TISS is a university. They connect with laborers and maids and instigate them about how they are denied the stars and kill the spirit of working hard. They also run mobile legal cells in slums and Dalit colonies.
It is a dangerous society in the making with where people would protest and demand for rights and feel humiliated, punished and victimized when reminded of duties! These activists and advocate comrades participate in state and national advocacy campaigns in association with Press Council of India (PCI), public hearings, criticize existing statutes, conduct mass signature campaigns, network with elected representatives in relation to various human rights and facilitate passing of Bills in the parliament. It is also campaigning for human rights for TADA accused, RTE and against death penalty.
But who benefits from these activities and why and how do they do it?
SICHREM is associated with Childline Foundation of India that is run by one Ms. Jeroo Billimoria, who is again a TISS graduate and is designated as ‘Social entrepreneur’ (whatever that means)! She receives funding for Childline Foundation from the Dutch Government and Mastercard Foundation as per Wikipedia. Incidentally she has also received a Royal Honor from the King of Netherlands by being appointed as an officer of Order of Orange-Nassau. Now why on earth is a Protestant Christian Monarchy so interested in the human rights and welfare of only few Indians through channels like ILO is a known interventionist mechanism deployed but that our MCWD continues to act as a gateway to these societal disintegration forces is worrying for the cause of whatever little humanity is left and is setting the stage for making humans lesser human.
Some quick shuffling of the stagnated evangelical minds in the ministry and a restricted policy towards foreign funded human rights adventurism alongside some holistic police reforms would go a long way in undoing the farce of feministic commissions that has done little or nothing for the cause of women and contain the menace of human rights lobby for sustaining an egalitarian society in its true sense.
Mayura is a freelance creative writer and blogger at http://www.desiherald.wordpress.com