India rejects US criticism on Nandigram
3/14/2008 8:30:30 AM
US State Department's human rights annual report listed Nandigram riots as violation of human rights in India, 2007
The Nandigram violence grabbed headlines not only around the country, but the violence grabbed attention of even the United States. In the US State Department's latest annual report on human rights, listed the violence in Nandigram among rights violations in India in 2007.
Indian government, however, reacted strongly to this report on violations in Nandigram. Speaking for the government the Information and Broadcast Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi accepted that there has been brutal violence in Nandigram and firmly ticked off the US government for commenting on what is purely an internal matter of India. He said, "US State Deptartment better not speak of any human rights violation in the world after what has happened in Iraq. We don't have to listen to the Americans about issues in our country. But the violence in Nandigram has been brutal. Human rights have been ruthlessly violated in Nandigram which has been acknowledged by many in India."
'Raise issue at diplomatic level'
Also reacting to the situation, the Left up in arms over US blaming the state government for the violence in Nandigram, wants the centre to raise the issue with America at a diplomatic level after the report was made public. CPI National Secretary -- D raja reacted strongly and said that the Indian government should take this matter to a diplomatic level. He also added that US should not interfere in others issues, they should look into matter within their nation. Raja also said that the US are not judges to pass judgements on other countries. He added that they do not have the right to dictate other developing nations in matters which can and should be handled by respective countries. He strongly said that the Indian government should take up this matter and not let US overpower India's political and international decisions.
(Click here to listen to D Raja's reaction)
The US annual report on Human Rights
The report, was slammed by critics, as little more than a 'political tool', as it failed to name India's neighbour China or even Iraq as a top human-rights violators. Referring to Nandigram, the US report stated, "In West Bengal, violence in Nandigram district led to accusations of state government failure to control ruling Communist party cadres, which were accused by human rights groups of killing more than 30 rural villagers and intimidating them through violence and rape."
The Report also stated that "From November 6 to 11, CPM members, whom human rights groups claim had state government support and direction, conducted a violent campaign of intimidation to regain control over the Nandigram area."
The Modi Government in Gujarat also came under the scanner in the report as it stated, "There was continued concern about the failure of the Gujarat government to arrest and convict those responsible for the 2002 violence following the train burning in Godhra." The report also said. "Convictions of Hindu perpetrators of the violence were minimal, while acquittals were common."
It added along with mentioning the Bilkis Bano gang rape case Kerala, the other red bastion that also got blacklisted with its high number of custodial deaths. According to the Report, the Kerala State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) registered 25 cases of custodial deaths from January to June in 2007 compared with 39 cases in 2005. "According to KSHRC, 46 persons died in state custody throughout the year," the report said. The reports also said that the government of Kerala announced a judicial inquiry into the deaths following media outcry.
On the Iraq issue the US's annual report on human rights blamed all except US forces. The excerpts from the report stated, "Constitution and law provide framework for free exercise of human rights. Sectarian, ethnic, extremist violence, coupled with weak government inability to uphold rule of law, resulted in widespread, severe human rights abuses. Aided by new military efforts, violence declined as ceasefire by Shi'a militias took hold of government institutions stressed by Al Qaeda, terrorists."