The world gets two dark blotches from Narendra Modi and Suu Kyi on this year’s international human rights day
This year's international human rights day must go down in the history of global human rights for two widely condemned reasons.
While people across the world were observing human rights day on Tuesday with a clarion call to uphold their rights, Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, once known as a human rights icon, walked into the International Court of Justice at The Hague to defend the Rohingya genocide.
On the eve of the human rights day, another dark chapter was added to world human rights history as the Narendra Modi's government on Monday morning moved to have the controversial 'anti-Muslims' citizenship bill passed in Lok Sabha.
And his government was successful in defeating the opposition parties, as the Lok Sabha - the lower chamber of the House - approved the bill in the early hours of Tuesday.
Suu Kyi, who was sitting impassively through graphic accounts of mass murder and rape perpetrated by Myanmar's military at the start of hearing into allegations of genocide on Tuesday, showed her true face the next day. At the UN's highest court, she rejected allegations of genocide and defended the Myanmar military action.
This is not the first time Suu Kyi has defended the ruthless Myanmar army accused of raping and killing Rohingyas.
A few weeks after the Myanmar army launched the violent crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in August 2017, Suu Kyi, facing global condemnation, broke her silence and held a press conference only to defend the military clearances. Her stance shocked the world.
Again, it came as a surprise for many when it was announced that she would defend the Rohingya genocide at The Hague.
She has been defending the military that kept her in house arrest for 15 years.
The reason is simple and clear. She stands up for the military for her personal political gains. She has been the de facto leader of Myanmar since April 2016. Her political fate still largely depends on the Myanmar junta that continues to dominate the parliament and administration. Her stance on Rohingyas makes Buddhists - who are majority in Myanmar – happy before the next general election expected to be held next year.
While Suu Kyi was defending the Myanmar's genocidal army in The Hague as their mouthpiece on Wednesday, Modi government moved to get Indian parliament upper chamber's approval for the controversial citizenship bill.
Ignoring strong opposition to the bill in and outside the parliament, the Modi government was successful by night to get the Rajya Sabhya's nod to the bill.
With the enactment of the bill, his government defeated the secular character of India and its long glory of sheltering refugees irrespective of their caste and religion.
The new legislation allows only Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan to apply for citizenship. Muslims were excluded as Modi and his BJP wants to build a "Hindustan'' free of Muslims.
This clearly violates the spirit of the Indian Constitution, a secular document that prohibits classification on the ground of religion.
The Article 14 of the constitution, which guarantees equality before law and clearly says the State "shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India".
But the new legislation does not bother to align with the constitutional spirit.
This also violates the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights that guarantees equality before the law as one of the human rights, irrespective of people's caste and religion.
Nothing ruffles Modi and his ruling BJP as they continue on their mission to gain political mileage by playing the religion card.
It played the same card in August when the Modi government scrapped nearly seven decades of autonomy in the Muslim-majority region of Kashmir, sparking global outcry and condemnation.
And three weeks later his government put around two million people, mostly Muslims, in the northeastern state of Assam, at risk of losing their Indian citizenship through a controversial move to enforce a national register of citizens to weed out alleged 'illegal immigrants'.
Modi and his BJP is abusing people's religious sentiments at a time when India is facing economic slowdown, according to data released two weeks ago. Indian people were supposed to scrutinise the government's failure to boost the economy. Instead, they are now divided over the controversial new citizenship law.
So on this year's international human rights day, the world gets two dark blotches from these two leaders.