Take Up the Cause of Justice: APCR
Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) organised a two-day Training Programme for paralegal social workers at Lucknow on November 10 and11. Around 40 human rights activists from different parts of Uttar Pradesh participated in the programme. At the outset Dr Shakeel Ahmad, Secretary of Islami Relief Committee-Gujarat and Project Director APCR, spelled out objectives…
Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) organised a two-day Training Programme for paralegal social workers at Lucknow on November 10 and11. Around 40 human rights activists from different parts of Uttar Pradesh participated in the programme.
At the outset Dr Shakeel Ahmad, Secretary of Islami Relief Committee-Gujarat and Project Director APCR, spelled out objectives and structure of the programme.
He said Muslims have not only failed to be vanguards of human rights but also become oppressed themselves to a great extent. And for alleviating the situation they should take up the cause of justice in an organised, professional and effective way.
Dr Shakeel remarked that several human rights groups are presently active in India but Muslim participation in this regard is almost negligible and even those who evince enthusiasm in this particular field, lack proper training and desired knowledge. The APCR has planned to fill this gap by organising a series of training activities in different parts of the country in a phased manner.
Prof. M. Rafat, Member Central Advisory Council Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, in his keynote address, pointed out that Islam is a universal religion and it underlines equality of mankind as an essential feature of civil society and demands that all human beings should be treated with justice and due respect. He emphasised the need for cooperation of Muslims with the cross-section of society in establishing peace and justice not only as their religious obligation but also as their human responsibility.
According to the learned speaker, in spite of the fact that India complies to the UN Charter of Human Rights and it is governed by one of the best constitutions of the world, it has several repressive laws and policies which actually go against minorities, scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, labours, farmers, women, children and other precarious sections of Indian society.
He advised that such laws and policies should be opposed at the formulation level itself and mass awareness should be generated for their repealing even if proclaimed. He said that the best way of fighting oppressive tendencies is to expose them before common people by acquiring comprehensive information on the actual violation of human rights along with substantial proofs. He commented that the judicial system in the country has become dearer whereas Indian prisons are still managed with draconian laws, making delivery of justice slow and cumbersome. Dr Rafat emphasised that paralegal workers should compile right information regarding human rights violation and bring it to the notice of higher authorities, media and all concerned.
Mr Mohammad Sulaiman, President Indian National League, Kanpur, quoted several cases of human rights violation and suggested that there should be Muslim activist groups in all major cities and troubled regions for taking care of injustice and discrimination against Muslims. He lamented that values of good governance are evaporating fast and those who are supposed to be the vanguards of civil rights are violating them in a shameless and fearless manner. He opined that Muslims should rise to the occasion and take suitable measures for redressing the situation.
Mr Abdul Rashid Agwan, President Universal Knowledge Trust, New Delhi, talked on “Role and Responsibilities of Paralegal Workers” and pointed out that paralegals must take up the cause as vanguards of justice, peace workers, crisis managers at the time of conflict and rioting, neighbourhood legal advisors for common people, legal counsellors, compilers of data and documents, linkmen between police and sufferers, campaigners of civil rights, coordinators among human rights groups in a given area/locality and the like. Those who are interested to take up paralegal work as their prime profession or passion must develop enough knowledge and understanding regarding Indian judicial system and functioning of law enforcement agencies, norms and procedures of government machinery, perspectives of human rights activists, etc, he said.
His talk was followed by interaction among participants. Mr Agwan also led a workshop on Documentation for Paralegal Work.
In an interesting session, Dr Shakeel Ahmad shared his personal experiences of dealing with widespread human rights violation in Gujarat during and after Gujarat riots. He mentioned that during riotous situation, the police not only collaborate with miscreants but also remove dead bodies from the actual spots to dub innocent people as attackers on police or to destroy them permanently. The experience of Gujarat shows that by stressing on due legal remedies and effective and professional handling of cases a lot of innocent people or their survivors could be helped to a great extent, not only in the dispensation of justice but also in ensuring due compensation to the victims.