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India protects the Rights of vulnerable groups and is strengthening Laws for their Welfare

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Geneva/New Delhi, May 4, 2017: India on Thursday said that it protects the rights of vulnerable groups and is strengthening laws for their protection and welfare.

“In all its policies, India seeks to ensure inclusive development and the protection of rights of vulnerable groups,” Mukul Rohatgi said while speaking at the Third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of India at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

“We have enacted a range of laws to address sexual assault and other gender-based crimes. We have overhauled the legal framework for dealing with child sexual assault,” Rohatgi said.

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The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006, by resolution 60/251, which established the UNHRC itself.

The UPR is a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN member-states.

Speaking further on child protection, the Attorney General said, “To better protect children from exploitative conditions and to ensure that they have freedom, dignity and opportunity, the National Child Policy, 2013 has put in place a rights- based policy framework for addressing children’s needs.”

Putting across the Indian stand on rights of minorities, he said, “Safeguarding the rights of minorities forms an essential core of our polity. The Indian Constitution enshrines various provisions for the protection of the rights and interest of the minorities.”

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Speaking on the Indian efforts towards combating human trafficking, he said that, “To comprehensively address issues relating to human trafficking, the Government is in advanced consultations with stakeholders on a new Anti-Human Trafficking Bill.”

“India has been at the forefront of recognizing the equal rights of transgender persons,” Rohatgi said and added that transgenders are “entitled to affirmative action benefits.”

“The Court also reinforced that they should have all rights under law, including marriage, adoption, divorce, succession and inheritance.”

Replying to the concerns pertaining to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), Rohatgi said that this Act is applied only to disturbed areas dealing with exigent circumstances like terrorism.

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 “These areas are very few and in proximity to some international borders.”

Highlighting the inherent checks in AFSPA against any immunity to security forces, Rohatgi said, “Recently, the Court held that the armed forces cannot use excessive force in the course of the discharge of their duties under the Act, which does not allow blanket immunity for perpetrators of unjustified deaths or offences.”

He also talked about the Accessible India Campaign which address the special needs of persons with disabilities.

On the status of freedom of speech in the country, the top law officer said, “As the world’s largest multi-layered democracy..Our people are conscious of their political freedoms and exercise their choices at every opportunity.”

UPR is a state-driven process, under the auspices of the UNHRC, which provides the opportunity for each state to declare what actions have been taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfill their human rights obligations.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi is leading the Indian delegation which also comprises Ruchi Ghanashyam, Secretary (West) in the External Affairs Ministry, P.S. Patwalia, Additional Solicitor General of India, and senior officials from the External Affairs, Home, Women and Child Development, Social Justice and Empowerment, Minority Affairs, Rural Development Ministries and the NITI Aayog. India’s first UPR was reviewed in 2008 and the second in 2012. (IANS)

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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

World Hindu Congress, Hindu
Hindus don’t oppose anyone, don’t aspire to dominate: RSS chief

“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

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Photo credit: theguardian.com

A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

Also Read: Delhi’s Air Quality Leads To Ban On Trucks And Construction

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)