ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From Parliamentary to Paramilitary Democracy

India's atrocious record with regard to the human rights of its citizens suggests that, with parliamentary complicity, it is degenerating to the status of a paramilitary democracy.

Sumanta Banerjee ( is best known for his book In the Wake of Naxalbari: A History of the Naxalite Movement in India (1980).

All through the politically phoney and financially wasteful filibustering on the floors of the Lok Sabha in the recent winter session, neither the treasury benches nor the opposition cared to remember one particular date during that session – 10 December, World Human Rights Day. Yet, all other United Nations-mandated dates – like International Women’s Day on 8 March, World Population Day on 11 July, International Literacy Day on 8 September – are observed with a lot of fanfare by the Indian government by giving away awards to functionaries for carrying out the tasks under those respective UN mandates. That New Delhi keeps out 10 December from its list of similar ­official ceremonies is indicative of the ­Indian state’s unease over its atrocious record with regard to the human rights of its citizens. In contrast with its acts of ­rewarding non-governmental organisations and individuals under other UN-sponsored social reformist program­mes, the Indian government punishes citizens who assert their rights under the UN’s ­Human Rights charter.

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