Human rights lawyers concern about civil liberties in India

By: | Published: February 9, 2017 5:56 PM

The threat to civil liberties in India is very serious but there is also a lot of resistance against this threat in the country, according to one of India's leading human rights lawyers.

indian-flag-l-pti_lGrover, an advocate in the Supreme Court of India, highlighted specific cases that she has been involved in over the years that reflected this spirit of resistance. (PTI)

The threat to civil liberties in India is very serious but there is also a lot of resistance against this threat in the country, according to one of India’s leading human rights lawyers. “In India, the threat to civil liberties is very, very serious. There is a determined effort to silence those who will oppose. We need to have alliances globally because fascism comes in different forms. I see a lot of resistance in India. It is not like we are cowing down,” Vrinda Grover said.

She made the remarks while addressing the first Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Lecture at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, set up to reflect the anti-fascist ideals of the Indian-origin World War II British spy Noor Inayat Khan.

“In these troubled times, what is inspiring about Noor is the strategic and determined way in which she resisted fascism and was killed for the principles that she stood for. In India, there are many women like Noor who are carrying forward this legacy,” Grover said during her lecture on Tuesday titled ‘The Struggle for Human Rights in India’.

Grover, an advocate in the Supreme Court of India, highlighted specific cases that she has been involved in over the years that reflected this spirit of resistance.

The lawyer, researcher and activist urged the global media to look beyond the brutal gang rape in Delhi in 2012 to understand the country’s fight for rights.

“The cry for justice that followed the brutal gang rape in Delhi had echoes which reached the rural areas of the country. It should be seen as a benchmark of what should be available to all rape victims, rather than an exception. Women activists have gone into the interiors of villages with their fight,” she said.

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The annual lecture has been dubbed the Liberte series, in reference to the last words of Noor Inayat Khan – the great-great-great grand-daughter of Tipu Sultan – as she was murdered in Nazi captivity.

It has been launched by the Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Trust in collaboration with the South Asia Institute of SOAS.

“Now more than ever, the principles that Noor stood for – freedom, non-violence and religious tolerance – are all the more relevant,” said Shrabani Basu, the founder-chair of the Trust and author of Noor’s biography ‘Spy Princess’.

The event also marked the announcement of the 1,000-pound Noor Inayat Khan Memorial Prize, awarded to a SOAS student working on a subject that reflects the ideals of the war heroine.

This year’s prize went to Natasha Pagarani for her work on the Mental Health Bill in India and to what extent it represents a progressive, feminist approach towards mental health.

“It is extremely encouraging to receive this prize at this critical stage in my research,” said Pagarani via a video message from India.

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