The second international conference on human rights concerns of Indian Diaspora was inaugurated by founder of Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in Hindi Bhawan here. Speaking on the occasion, Ravi Shankar said that there have been many instances of violations of human rights of Indian Diasporic community members in different parts of the world. He cited an instance of how temples in Malaysia have been destroyed. He said that there is a need to generate awareness about human rights values amongst the Indian Diaspora. He stressed that their grievances should be given proper attention, but was concerned that there is not a proper platform where they can vent their pent-up anger. He also added that there is a need for an organization which serves as a security system or acts as a support mechanism.
Ravi Shankar was glad to say that Indians have come forward while speaking on the issue of human rights. He also stressed that it is the duty of both the people and administration to honour the rights enshrined in the Constitution. Speaking on how the Supreme Court slammed the police action against yoga guru Baba Ramdev in the early hours of June 5 last year in Ramlila Maidan, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said that it was not only the case of police excess, but also how “people behind police” failed at the time. He indirectly blamed senior ministers for the crackdown.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said that along with human rights, it is paramount to cultivate human values. He also applauded the job done by Human Rights Defense (India). “It is a great act of humanity. Their work will get my support and cooperation,” said the ambassador of peace. Gouri Shankar Gupta, an educationist and social reformer and Additional Solicitor General of India Amarjit Singh Chandhiok were also spoke during the inauguration.
Prominent human rights activists Dr. Richard Benkin, P Waytha Moorthy, Ram Singh Sodho and a Swami from Dera Dhuni Baba camp were honoured by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar for their works in defending human rights of Indians abroad.
Dr. Benkin is an independent human rights activist who has worked towards the correction of injustices worldwide. He has been presented a ‘Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition’ for his “commitment and dedication to preserving human rights in the case of Shoaib Choudhury (a Bangladeshi journalist)” by US Congressman Mark Kirk. Waytha Moorthy is a Malaysian lawyer of Tamil origin who has fought for the human rights concerns of Malaysian Tamils. Ram Singh is a well-known politician from Pakistan’s southern Sindh province who resigned in 2011 and has since moved to India. Dera Dhuni Baba society facilitated shelter for Hindu refugees from Pakistan and worked towards their amelioration.
Speaking on the occasion, ASG Chandhiok applauded the efforts of HRDI on being a proper platform paying heed to the human rights concerns of Indian Diaspora. He also put stress on the fact that it is important for the central and state governments to discuss the legal aspects and lay out plans to resolve the human rights violations of Indians spread across the world.
Dr. Benkin said that the lives of around one and a half million Hindus is in danger in Bangladesh. He also said that the ruling Awami League, which claims to a pro-minority government, has not been able to protect the rights of Hindus in the country.
During the inauguration of the conference, M N Krisknamani, President, HRDI, said that human rights violations of Indian community members in a cause of grave concern. He also added that proper attention have not been given to the cases of human rights violations of Indians in countries like Malaysia and Sri Lanka on international forums.
Highlighting the work done by HRDI for thousands of migrant families from Pakistan, organization’s General Secretary Rajesh Gogna said that it has presented protest-petitions and intervention papers to the government of India with regard to human rights issues. He also added that next year’s conference would be held from January 5-6.
Chairman of the organising committee Gopal Agarwal highlighted the pivotal role played by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in conflict resolution and spreading the cause of interfaith harmony across the globe. He also said that the second day of the conference will have dedicated sessions to discuss human rights violations of people of Indian origin in countries like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Bangladesh among others. The second day of the conference will be held in Indian Law Institute.
Datuk A Vithilingam, president of Malaysia Hindu Sangam Association, Mahendra Utchanah from Mauritius, Bimal Kedia, Prasanna Chaturvedi among other were also present during the conference.