The present development process excludes a majority of the people as a structural requirement, chairperson of the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission S.R. Nayak said here on Friday.

He was delivering the inaugural address at a two-day seminar on “Developing humane society through human rights protection: problems and prospects” organised by the A.J. Institute of Management and the KSHRC.

Mr. Nayak said the development policies excluded several groups, particularly the marginalised segments of society and consequently the so-called development had marginalised and disempowered them. References were made to the importance of human rights but very little conceptual work had been devoted to the relationship between development programmes and projects.

He stressed on the need to change the emphasis of national policies from exclusion to inclusion. “India is a difficult country to understand,” Mr. Nayak said, “because some of the richest people live in this country while millions starve.”

Referring to articles written by social activist Harsh Mander, he said that people in this country were so poor that they looked for undigested grain in cow dung for food.

Calling the caste system “horrendous”, Mr. Nayak said dominant caste groups would not want the system to end because they had benefited from it. He urged students to become “world citizens” as preached by the celebrated writer Kuvempu.

Mr. Nayak, who hails from Uttara Kannada district, expressed dismay over the “communal divide” in coastal Karnataka. Inter-faith couples in coastal Karnataka were being beaten up for being together; members of one faith attack the places of worship of another faith and moral policing was done. “What is happening here?” he said.

Stating that inequality and discrimination starts in the classroom, he said that communal enmity was a part of it.

Managing Director of A.J. Group of Institutions A.J. Shetty and Director of the institute T. Jayaprakash Rao were present.

Principal District and Sessions Judge H.R. Deshpande spoke.

The Hindu is the media partner for the event.

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