The United Nations’ International Day in Support of Victims of Torture is annually observed on June 26 to remind people all over the world that human torture is not only unacceptable – it is also a crime. Farooq Ahmed Dar reportedly came to cast his vote in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency braving the boycott call by separatist organisations. Investigation found that after voting, when he was on his way, to his sister’s place for a condolence visit, the army picked him up and tied him to a jeep and paraded him through nearly 28 villages in Budgam district apparently to escape stone pelters. The army and some of us had supported this action. Perhaps, it is another matter that Major Leetul Gogoi who was at the centre of human – shield controversy, is in the news again for some wrong reasons. Nevertheless, it is time to scrutinize if a human being can be treated in such a brutal way even for arguably a noble cause. Do we have to accept that the end justifies the means? Now, we must examine the very area where workers have been facing torture in the name of occupational hazard. It is horrifying to see many construction workers engage in doing life-threatening jobs without having minimum safety protection. Shop assistants in some malls are made to work for more than eight hours a day.
They have been forced to hand over their mobile phones during working hours. Being totally disconnected, they cannot provide help to their families in crisis situations. Sometimes, they are not allowed even to go to the toilet!
We need to create such an environment where they will be able to enjoy the “Fundamental Right against Exploitation” as enshrined in the Article 23 of the Constitution of India. At the same time, we must try to attract every child to a school and to effectively end child labour and child abuse. Schools need to provide the students with a safe shelter, nutritious midday meal, drinking water and toilets where students can get quality education without facing any kind of torture be it corporal punishment or ragging or hunger or thirst or insecurity.
Sujit De, Kolkata