Sadhvi Pragya Singh, the prime accused in the 2008 Malegaon blasts, might not be the “Goose” which lays the golden eggs for secular media. After all, the “Hindu” tag makes one unworthy of eliciting conscious attention. Her sympathetic approach towards the causes related with Hindus have made her untouchable not only for the major political parties but also for the mainstream media obsessed with issues related with the minorities.
The article is not focused on elements associated with her involvement in Malegaon blast since they are sub judice but it’s a take on inhuman treatment meted out to her in name of having confession. It’s disgusting that barbaric methods used upon her went unnoticed. The mainstream media was highly conscious in pursuing the aspects related with Afzal, Kasab and many others in the same category, ensuring that their human rights do not get violated. It clamoured for their fair and just trial. However, the same zeal and enthusiasm was strikingly absent while dealing with issues pertaining to Sadhvi Pragya. On the contrary, the mainstream media was busy targeting the ghost of Hindu terrorism-the by-product of pervert secular minds.
Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer’s landmark judgement in Sunil Batra Vs Delhi Administration,1978, sets the basic principles pertaining to rights of prisoners quite emphatically: “No prisoner can be personally subjected to deprivation not necessitated by the fact of incarceration and the sentence of the court. All other freedoms belong to him to read and write, to exercise and recreation, to meditation and chant, to comforts like protection from extreme cold and heat, to freedom from indignities such as compulsory nudity, forced sodomy and other such unbearable vulgarity, to movement within the prison campus subject to requirements of discipline and security, to the minimal joys of self-expression, to acquire skills and techniques. A corollary of this ruling is the Right to Basic Minimum Needs necessary for the healthy maintenance of the body and development of the human mind. This umbrella of rights would include: Right to proper Accommodation, Hygienic living conditions, Wholesome diet, Clothing, Bedding, timely Medical Services, Rehabilitative and Treatment programmes.”
In fact, Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer strongly asserted that “Convicts are not by mere reason of the conviction denuded of all the fundamental rights which they otherwise possess.” His sentiments are on par with principles established by many International bodies working for the restoration of human rights. “No one shall be subject to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of punishment” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948). The United Nations Covenant on Civil and Political Rights also echoes the same feelings: “All persons deprived of their liberty shall be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person” (UNICCPR, 1966).
It’s learnt that Sadhvi Pragya Singh was subjected to worst kind of animal treatment inside the boundaries of prison. She was shown porn movies, forced to consume non-vegetarian diet, and also mercilessly beaten naked. The severity of the inhuman treatment reached its crescendo just because she represented a Hindu organisation! Can you imagine this sort of treatment to any top leader representing minorities? One prominent leader belonging to minority community, known for his penchant for issuing bogus fatwas, has many criminal cases pending against him but he is roaming scot-free. Can our criminal justice system dare to deal with such absconders the same way? In fact, even the Hindu organizations are guilty of misfortune which has become fate of Sadhvi Pragya. If the Hindu organizations are so interested in restoring the dignity and self-respect of Hindu community, then they should have a proper mechanism to save their workers/ volunteers from the onslaught of negative forces. However, that’s not the reality. These Hindu bodies like any other bodies are involved in petty politics. Or else, they would have left no stone unturned in highlighting the violation of International norms in case of Sadhvi Pragya.
Not many know that Sadhvi Pragya has been diagnosed with cancer (grade 3) and requires serious medication. Just few days back her condition deteriorated and she suffered partial paralysis to the left side of her body. Well, her fate now rests on the will of Lord. However, the treatment meted out to her exposed the flaws of criminal justice system functioning in India. The brutal treatment inflicted upon her does not surprise those who are aware that how our system operates, wherein a 10-year-old girl was put behind bars by women cops when she went to Police Station, along with her mother, to register a complaint against a local goon for allegedly raping her. The rights of the complainants or rights of the prisoners exist only on paper. This nation does not recognize the rights of an individual in practical terms. Anyway, Sahdhvi Pragya’s case also brought in open the real elements gone into the making of organisations representing the cause of Hindu. They are involved more in dirty politics than working for the cause of Hindus in determined way. Let’s learn to honour the dignity of people of substance to make this great nation move ahead with right set of values.