Call for scrutiny of intelligence department's activities
MADURAI: The greatest tragedy of globalisation was that it treated services as a commodity to make money out of them, G. Haragopal, member, University Grants Commission Standing Committee on Human Rights, Hyderabad, said here on Thursday.
"Education, on which great value was placed in ancient times, has been commercialised at present," he said.
Dr. Haragopal was addressing the inaugural session of a three-day national seminar on `Human rights - Changing trends and challenges' organised at Lady Doak College by its Human Rights Education Unit and People's Watch, a human rights organisation.
"Our Constitution was considered as a radical one as it mandated the State to be a catalyst for change, despite the fact that history had shown otherwise," Dr. Haragopal said.
Pointing out that while the Constitution had mandated the State to be in favour of the poor and be a catalyst for change in transforming the society, it had failed to be so. "The State has abdicated its social responsibility. It has confined its role to maintaining law and order thereby relying more on persuasive power. This has resulted in the State getting increasingly brutalised," he said.
Culture of impunity
Teesta Setalvad, Editor, Communalism Combat, said, "A culture of impunity has been created due to the acquittals of powerful people in mass crimes. Those in power think that they can play with communal violence and the law will allow them to get away with it."
Had the guilty been brought to book in the earlier instances, subsequent mass crimes could have been prevented, she said. "No mass crime starts off with a violent physical incident. The atmosphere is deliberately vitiated with hate speeches and writing with corrosive quality," she said. Speaking about the Gujarat riots, Ms. Setalvad said that official estimate of the damages caused was Rs.3,000 crore.
"More than 200 mosques were demolished. Only about 40 were rebuilt not by the State but by the communities."
Calling for reforms in the police department, Ms. Setalvad said that despite the reports of nine police commissions, there was reluctance on the part of the police to create transparency and accountability. She also called for scrutinising the activities of intelligence departments.
"The intelligence departments, of both the Centre and the State, have to be representative of different classes, sections and communities. If they are not, that itself tells the story," she concluded.
Henri Tiphagne, executive director, People's Watch, and Nirmala Jeyaraj, Principal, Lady Doak College, also spoke.