South Asian human rights forum condemns Hazare arrest

August 19th, 2011 - 7:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Mumbai, Aug 19 (IANS) South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) Friday condemned the arrest of social activist Anna Hazare and others before they launched their agitation for an effective Lokpal bill as “ultra vires” of the Indian constitution.

SAHR chairperson Hina Jilani of Pakistan said in a statement that in a democracy all citizens have a right to protest peacefully and the government must uphold the citizens’ fundamental right of speech and expression.

“This act of the government is ultra vires of the constitution of India. Given the gravity of the issue of corruption, it is essential that all views on the Jan Lokpal bill are debated, including the proposals of the NCPRI (National Campaign for Peoples’ Right to Information),” Jilani said.

SAHR expressed concern over civil and environmental rights activist Shehla Masood’s killing in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal Tuesday, and said “now even peaceful protests are being crushed”.

Calling it a worrying trend for Indian democracy, SAHR urged human rights organisations, movements and the people to defend the right to dissent.

The rights body has bureaus in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka with prominent activists, academicians and media persons as members.

The members on SAHR Indian bureau include Vrinda Grover, Jatin Desai, Kalpana Kannabiran and Yousuf Tarigami.

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