:: Human Rights ::



In earlier chapters, we have outlined the grim events as factually and objectively as possible as well as the findings and conclusions flowing therefrom. It is evident that the social fabric has suffered severe damage, that the law was held in open contempt and brazenly defied, and that the administration was totally ineffective. To revive a humane society, to restore the authority of the law and to redeem respect for the administration are the most serious concerns for the future.

To remedy the intensive damage done to the social and political structure of the Republic by the recent events will require sustained effort and dedicated application. We fear that even the few obvious and basic measures that we have proposed for the purpose will have scant effect, unless a live political and administrative will is aroused in the corridors of power to implement them, in the spirit in which they have been made.

Countless reports and recommendations, supported by public opinion, for toning up the administration, giving primacy to the maintenance of law and order above all political considerations throughout the country, and for making the equality guaranteed to every citizen under the Constitution a living reality, have had little or no effect so far on successive Governments.

Our hope is that the stark reality of the sad degeneration of our present administration, exposed most recently by current events, its unpreparedness, demoralisation and ineptitude in the face of a crisis in the very heart of the country, will at last arouse that political will to ensure the dignity, security and wellbeing of law-abiding citizens who have put their trust in the Government.

The inculcation of habits of mental and physical discipline of a high order in administrative officers and the custodians of law and order, fortified by the provision of adequate service conditions and encouragement to imbibe the true culture of public service, is an essential prerequisite of good government. Only by paying constant attention to the efficient functioning of the administration and by ensuring its rectitude and impartiality, vigilance and initiative can the civil services be depended upon, especially in times of crisis, to prove equal to their responsibilities. The Commission is appalled to note from the examples before it, how far the civil services have fallen below the expected standards.

All political parties who have been in power at the Centre or in the States are in one way or the other responsible for bringing about this steady deterioration in the quality and morale of the civil services. The constant political interference in the day-to-day functioning of administration, resulting in lack of initiative and shelving of responsibility, has largely brought about the present malaise. Some senior members of the services have also contributed towards this by conniving at and acquiescing in such acts of commission and omission.

The deplorable happenings in Delhi provide a stern warning of future dangers on an even larger scale, if urgent remedial measures are not promptly taken. "The sense of culpability projected against all Sikhs for the senseless aberrations of a few, has resulted in a grievous fracture of the secular ideal and has grave implications for the unity and integrity of our country. This distorted concept of attributing guilt by association is illogical, negates the rule of law and undermines the foundations of an orderly society.

If any community, major or minor, develops a siege mentality, either defensively or as a result of circumstances, the entire concept of national unity is endangered. This calls for anxious consideration and rectification. All political leaders and responsible citizens must give serious and urgent consideration to the situation and devise measures to rectify it.

If any section of citizens is made to feel unwanted or insecure, this can give rise to a ripple effect which could spread far and wide. Extra-legal retribution in any form, either against an individual or a group, has to be rejected and condemned as uncivilised, immoral and contrary to the principles of our Constitution and the foundations of our society.

This vast subcontinent, reaching down from the Himalayas to the waters of the Indian Ocean, its arms stretching out to the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, nurtures a variety of peoples and cultures, ethnicities and religions, all closely inter-linked by a long common history and a common destiny. This has been cemented by a Constitution under which all share equal citizenship rights, ideals and obligations. If any of the links binding the Indian nation together is weakened, it impairs the strength and resilience of the whole.

If the Sikhs, the valiant guardians of our Western marches who have fully contributed to the independence of our country and to its progress and prosperity, feel injured or alienated, it weakens the fabric of our society and the vitality of our nation. To restore fully our ancient society to its pristine health and vigour is an urgent task for the country as a whole so that all peoples comprising this vast mosaic may, in unity and strength, march confidently forward to a better future.

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