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31 January, 2009

Human Rights in the age of terrorism

President Barack Obama, in his inaugural address, rejected as false any suggestion that the country has to choose between its security and its ideals. This statement is as true to India and the rest of the world as it is to the United States.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who said recently that human rights might have to be overlooked while dealing with terrorists, and Supreme Court judge Arijit Pasayat (see picture), who said terrorists are not human beings, are standing on the wrong side of humanity. They must re-read the provisions of the Constitution, by which they swore when they took office, as also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which this country subscribes. The powers that the Constitution vests in the judiciary do not include the right to bestow or deny the status of human beings to those whom the judges do not approve of.

Justice Pasayat’s words echo the ancient Vedic community’s judgment that refused to acknowledge all human beings as human beings.

Reproduced below are two articles with a bearing on the human rights situation, distributed by

Manichean echoes: terrorists as sub-human -- Binu Karunakaran
Eradicating terrorism: groping in the dark – Ram Puniyani

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