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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Kapil Sibal on disadvantaged groups

Aligarh: Noted Supreme Court lawyer and Member of Parliament, Kapil Sibal said that disadvantaged groups in Indian society and politics are voiceless and large development project have displayed millions of them, without any compensation, and there is an adamant refusal by those in the echelons powers, to take cognizance of them.

Delivering the annual Ambedkar Memorial Lecture at the Aligarh Muslim University on "Law, the Constitution, Weaker Sections, Women, Minorities, Scheduled Castes and their Development", Mr Sibal said that the rights are protected not by laws, but by the social and moral conscience of society. 

Referring to the plight of the minorities, Kabil Sibal said "communal strife has exacerbated in an alarming fashion. In the survival of a pluralistic society such as India’s tolerance, unity in diversity and cultural integration are of critical importance. He said that the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, in its annual report in 2003, articulated its recommendation that India be officially included by the US Government in its shortlists of the worst religious persecutors under the International Religious Freedom Act by designating it as a ‘country of particular concern’ for its ‘egregious, systematic and on going’ violations of religious rights.

He said that in Gujarat ruthless brutality against small children and women and the mass terror hunted on our people has stunned all right thinking people the world over. Mr Sibal said that today there are 300 million unemployed people in India and this country needs to be free from poverty and hunger. Country’s leaders need to grant people basic freedoms, freedoms that will enable every citizen to achieve her potential.

— Rahat Abrar

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