Sunday, Nov 30, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
Speaking at the first State-level conference of `human rights defenders' here yesterday, Mr. Justice Suresh, however, said the voice of the people was also loud and clear in resisting the violations. Stating that mere holding of elections did not represent democracy, he said the voice of common man should be respected.
The Preamble of the Constitution laid stress on liberty, equality, fraternity and social, economic and political justice.
Mr. Justice Suresh said bureaucrats and judiciary had failed to look into the human rights content in the fundamental rights. All human rights were indivisible.
Describing the Supreme Court observation that strikes were illegal as ``unconstitutional'', he said it denied the people the right to dissent, guaranteed by Article 21.
Stating that the Terrorists and Disruptive (Prevention) Act and the Prevention of Terrorism Act were ``unjust'' laws, he pointed out that out of the over 73,000 TADA detenus across the country, only less than two per cent were convicted.
He demanded scrapping of Section 151 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which allowed the police to detain anyone without any valid reason.
Speaking on the occasion, N. Markandan, former Vice-Chancellor, Gandhigram Rural Institute, expressed concern over the misuse of police and judiciary by politicians.
The conference condemned the ``police raid'' on the premises of the People's Watch - Tamil Nadu, a non-governmental organisation, and demanded action against the Madurai DIG and the Virudhunagar SP.
The meeting resolved to constitute a State Human Rights Defenders Desk to study reports on violations of the UN Declaration of Human Rights Defenders in the State.
The conference demanded appointment of a sitting High Court Judge to hear complaints of harassment of HR defenders, forming special desks by the National and State Human Rights Commissions to deal with specific cases and provision of security to NGOs who preferred complaints against officials.
The conference also demanded that the Justice Raman Commission, which is probing the ``encounter death'' of Venkatesa Pannaiyar, to investigate all 48 encounter killings in the State since 1998.
Human rights defenders and victims of human rights violations participated.
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