Being a democratic country, India has a responsibility to ensure that human rights of its people are not violated, a key US Senator, who has been vocal about alleged human rights here, said today.
On the issues of alleged human rights violations, religious intolerance and extra-judicial killings in India, Senator Ben Cardin said if Mahatma Gandhi were alive, he would be “pleased with the progress made by the country, but not satisfied”.
He said he would continue to stress on areas in which his country and India can “improve”.
“When you are a democratic country, you have to lead. We have certain responsibilities and as you see today, people who are not able to fully benefit from all the opportunities, we have a responsibility to do more and make sure they can,” he told reporters when asked about the US repeatedly suggesting India on “doing more” on human rights issues.
Cardin, a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, made the remarks during his visit to Gandhi Smriti here.
When questioned whether he was satisfied with measures taken by the Indian government with regard to protecting human rights, Cardin reiterated he is “encouraged” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement of having “zero tolerance” for violation of one’s rights.
The Senator also welcomed the Indian government’s proposed anti-human trafficking law and made a strong pitch for its uniform enforcement across the country.
“But as I said earlier, we would like to see not only law is passed, but we would like to see the maintaining of funding and enforcement uniformly around the country. So, it’s too early to judge, but I know that the Prime Minister has made the right commitments,” he said.
On his remarks that he will take up the issues of alleged human rights violation, religion intolerance and extra-judicial killings in India with Modi when the latter visits US next week, Cardin said he will “continue to stress” on areas where Washington and New Delhi “can improve”.
“If Gandhi was with us today, he must be very pleased with the progress seen in India, but he would not be satisfied. (If) Dr Martin Luther King was in the US, he would be proud of the progress we have made in our country, but he would not be satisfied. So, I am going to continue to stress (on) areas where I think my country and India, two great democracies, can improve,” he added.
Cardin said the US is looking forward to Modi’s visit to his country.
He showered praises on Mahatma Gandhi, describing him as “very inspirational and incredible individual” who had much influence on the development and social progress in the US.
“He inspired many of us including President John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King Junior…So, this was particularly important moment for me to be here,” he said.
Cardin was yesterday sharply critical of India on alleged human rights violations, extra-judicial killings and religious intolerance, and said these were “national challenges” that the country faces.