Allowing constructive criticism of Government Policies

Synopsis: India should respect the universal nature of human rights. It should allow constructive criticism of its policies by the Global community. Thus, India should welcome, praise as well as criticism from other nations. 

Background:

  • The use of military-grade barriers and internet shutdown against Farmer’s protest attracted criticism from global celebritiesHowever, the government has advised them to refrain from interfering in the internal issues. 
  • Moreover, The government has arrested activists (like Disha Ravi) and warned social media companies (Like Twitter) supporting such celebrities.
  • It is not the first time global celebrities stood for human rights. They also advocated democratic and human rights in other cases, like for Syrians on an Italian shore, the Rohingya in Myanmar, or Hindus in Pakistan. 
  • The global community is surprised by such a response. It is because India has itself been a champion and propagator of the universal nature of human rights.

India supporting universal nature of human rights:

  • The country criticized the practice of apartheid and arbitrary rivoria trail of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. The efforts led to the setting up of the United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid.
  • India was part of the committee that formulated the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration was adopted in 1948. This created a list of universal rights available to every human being. 
  • Indian freedom fighters like Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal role in drafting the UN charter at the 1945 San Francisco conference.

Respecting the Universality and Indivisibility:

  • The framers of the Indian constitution didn’t intend to protect the customs and traditions. They adopted liberty, equality, and fraternity ideals of French Revolutions on the basis of following justifications.
    • Liberty without equality will lead to the supremacy of few and equality without liberty would kill innovation. 
    • Without fraternity, liberty and equality could not become a natural course of things. 

Why should we welcome Foreign Criticism?

  • First, India itself intervened on matters of other countries on grounds of human rights. The 1971 intervention in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) was justified on humanitarian grounds.
  • Second, implementation of the latest laws like the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is only possible when criticism from other countries is accepted. The law offers a home for certain persecuted citizens of three foreign countries.
  • Third, the interests of Sri Lankan Tamils can be protected when the country is itself open to foreign comments.
  • Fourth, the country anyway welcomes praise from foreigners as observed in case of giving refuge to the Dalai Lama. Similarly, some Europeans were allowed to visit Kashmir in order to examine the human rights situation.
  • Fifth, public criticism is not a direct intervention in internal affairs. 

Way Forward:

  • India must realize that it can sustain its reputation as the world’s largest democracy only when it ensures and secure universal rights for all. This would require giving everyone a sense of security and respecting their dignity.
  • Further, the practise of accepting only praise from foreign celebrities also needs to change. Constructive criticism also requires acceptance.

India must refrain from shunning the criticism on the grounds of ‘internal matter’. India has itself intervened in fellow countries to protect and uphold human rights. 

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