Undeclared emergency in India: says Teesta Setalvad

Kolkata, Dec 10 (IANS) The country is in the throes of an “undeclared emergency”, says human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, stressing the need for turning human rights movements into mass movements to retrieve the situation.

“The nation is going through an undeclared emergency. It is alarming that in states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan where BJP runs the state machinery, the state laws are passed according to the central ordinance without any contradictions,” Setalvad said at a function here on Friday.

“Starting from the Forest Rights Act of 2006 to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, all are being overruled by using executive orders,” Setalvad said on the eve of International Human Rights day.

Setalvad, who has worked for over 30 years in the area of minority rights, said attacks against the minority community was not a new concept in India, but the “challenge has increased manifold” under the Narendra Modi government at the Centre.

“Under the present circumstances, if human rights movements are not turned into mass movements, the scope of reformation would be pretty limited,” she said.

Taking a swipe at the central government’s demonetisation move, the activist said the new economic policies formulated by the regime has triggered an economic emergency.

“People are losing jobs and farmers are burning crops after the demonetisation. It is like burning the house down to drive away some rats. The whole idea of recovering black money was blown out of proportion,” Setalvad said.

The activist, who has been much in the news after the government scrapped the permanent registration of her NGO “Sabrang Trust” under Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA), also warned about the rise of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

“Putting other political parties and the RSS in the same category would be a fundamental mistake,” she said.