He lauded the role of Mahatma Gandhi in ensuring human rights. Bapu is seen across the globe as a symbol of human rights and values. We need to live by his values and ideals, he said. Those who selectively raise human rights violations, diminish the image of the country, he said.
“As a nation, as a society we resisted injustice, atrocities; we fought for our rights for centuries. At a time when the whole world was engulfed in the violence of World War I, India suggested the path of ‘rights and non-violence’ to the whole world. Not only India but the whole world sees our Bapu as a symbol of human rights and human values,” he said, adding that even when the world was disillusioned and confused, India remained steadfast and sensitive towards human rights.
“Some people have started interpreting human rights from their own angle as per their selfish interests. Tendency to see infringement in one situation and not in another similar situation has damaged human rights a great deal. The biggest infringement of human rights takes place when they are seen from the prism of politics and political profit and loss. This selective behaviour is equally damaging for democracy as well,” he said.
Human rights come with duties and they are “two tracks on which the journey of human development and human dignity takes place.” Rights and duties should not be discussed separately as they complement each other. Human rights are about providing dignity and ensuring a safe future for coming generations, Modi said. The government has provided property rights, LPG cylinders which improved their health, toilets which ended indignity of open defecation for women, death penalty for rape culprits and amendment in medical termination of pregnancy rules to allow abortions. For Muslim women, the practice of triple talaq was banned and rule of having a male companion for Haj pilgrimage was ended. He also said 26 weeks of maternity leave was given to government employees. Modi said special ramps in buildings, railways stations and other public places were made for the differently abled.