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New Delhi  : Union Home Minister Amit Shah presided over the 26th foundation day celebrations of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) as Chief Guest. Also present was Justice H L Dattu, Chairperson, NHRC.

Shah, praising the work done by NHRC, said that the organisation had, over the last 26 years, created immense awareness about human rights in people. He added that the concept of human rights as applied in India was very different from that as applicable globally. He remarked that this was so because traditional Indian social structures and institutions have been the inherent protectors of several human rights without any legal obligation needed to enforce this protection.

Shah urged NHRC and other institutions involved in the field of human rights to rise above the confines of law and take the protection of human rights as a sacred ethical duty. He said that individuals and institutions involved in such efforts should be given space in the larger context of human rights ecosystem of India. He called for a broader definition of human rights and said that the Indian motto of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam has the protection and promotion of human rights in-built in it. He said that Mahatma Gandhi’s principles and values encompassed a wide scope of human rights and added that his favourite devotional song ‘Vaishnava Jan To’ is one of the greatest charters of human rights.

Shah remarked that poverty and violence were major challenges to human rights and said that any step taken to eliminate poverty will immediately enhance India’s standing in the field of human rights. He added that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has successfully begun to address the problem of poverty in the larger context of provision of human rights.

Remembering the 40,000 victims of terrorism in Kashmir, Shah called terrorism and Naxalism the greatest violations of human rights. While emphasising on zero tolerance towards custodial deaths and police atrocities, he spoke for the protection of human rights of the victims of terrorism and those who have been unable to enjoy the fruits of development because of the violence inflicted by Naxalism and terrorism, according to a PIB release.

Shah praised the rich intellectual tradition of India’s Constituent Assembly debates, and said that those debates enliven the concept of human rights and the spirit of the Constitution. He said that the various legal provisions to enact the Directive Principles and Fundamental Rights as enshrined in the Constitution, such as  Rigjt To Education, Right To Information and Right To Food are all connected to the advancement of human rights and that the protection and promotion of human rights is a cornerstone of India’s Constitutional philosophy. The Home Minister expressed pride at NHRC being accorded the status of an International Human Rights Institution. He said that under the leadership of PM Modi, the Government would act as a proactive sentinel of human rights for every citizen.

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