Hyderabad: “Atmanah pratikulani paresham na samacharet” (What is not good for me cannot be meted out by me to others. What is not good for me would not be good for others also, because others are like me in every respect) remarked Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 28th foundation day of National Human Rights Commission.
The quote in question is an extract from the Hindu religious text, Mahabharata which is controversial considering how people have bemoaned the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s slant towards the Hindutva ideology.
The Prime Minister’s speech was meant to shed light on the importance of human rights in keeping with the event organised by NHRC. However, Modi has been receiving significant flack from various groups including All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin Owaisi.
In a series of tweets on Twitter, Owaisi pointed out how PM Modi’s speech represented a flawed understanding of human rights. Owaisi remarked that while there was only one passing mention of the constitution, “references to ‘tradition’, ‘culture’ & religion could be found throughout.”
The Prime Minister spoke about how India was advancing vis-a-vis individual and human rights and spoke about how Muslim women were granted dignity after the abolition of the “triple talaq” law and also spoke about how the Transgender persons (protection of rights) act, passed in 2019, aided members of the trans community.
PM Modi, in his speech, further argued that small scale farmers, residents of Jammu and Kashmir and the citizens of Northeastern states were fairing better owing to the Indian government’s policies.
In a series of tweets, Asaduddin Owaisi criticised the Prime Minister for the Center’s mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic which witnessed the colossal loss of lives as a result of oxygen cylinder shortage. He also remarked that no Muslim beneficiary of PMAYG in UP has gotten a house since 2019.
Carrying forward, Owaisi dissed Modi for his statement on aiding farmers in the context of Lakhimpur Kheri, wherein farmers protesting the Union’s farm laws were run over by a BJP minister’s son. Narendra Modi’s statements on triple talaq and paid maternity leave were also called into question.
In a sardonic tone, Owaisi concluded his analysis of the speech and remarked, “For us, human rights protect…HUMANS. But Modi thinks human rights mean we don’t discriminate against animals. At a time when Muslims have been maimed & lynched in name of “cow protection”, this is very insensitive. Unfortunately, this is what we’ve come to expect from PM.”