While mainstream media went to town with a video clip of a passionate speech by a CRPF Jawan Khushboo Chouhan, another video of an equally eloquent speech by a Jawan from Assam Rifles at the same event has been blacked out. While Chouhan, speaking against the motion, had lashed out at Human Rights activists, Balwaan Singh speaking for the motion at the debate competition conducted by the National Human Rights Commission, highlighted the Human Rights violations by security forces.
The debate competition was organised on September 27 with the motion being ‘Can terrorism in the country be tackled effectively while observing human rights.’
Balwaan Singh spoke in favour of the motion and said, “Human rights are rights every human being enjoys by birth. He argued that peace could not be ensured by firepower, bombs, guns and gunpowder but with love, compassion and forgiveness.
Without mincing his words, he declared that there was indeed a serious problem in the security forces which needed to be looked upon. “From the year 2000 to 2016, 1528 cases of fake encounters and judicial killings were registered in Manipur alone,” he added.
“In a single year, in 2016, 92 people were killed and 351 injured in police firings. The same year, 53 people died after police cane charged them. As many as 759 people were also injured,” he added.
“Bravery does not lie in killing, but in saving lives” and “the real war is fought inside the people’s hearts and people’s hearts cannot be won by violating their human rights but respecting them,” he said.
He counters his opponent’s argument that wombs which gave birth to terrorists needed to be ‘killed’ by saying “if peace could be established by force, guns and bombs then there would have been peace in regions like the Northeast, Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand”.
“I destroy my enemies when I make them friends,” Singh quoted Abraham Lincoln. Asking what gave rise to terrorism, he declared, “where human rights are violated, then people like Paan Singh Tomar and Phoolan Devi, an innocent woman, are forced to rebel and take up arms.”
The mainstream media glorified the hateful and controversial statements by Khushboo Chouhan but Balwaan Singh’s speech has barely been noticed. This reflects the state of the media as well as signs of the time.
With people attaching their nationalistic feelings with security forces, this speech questioned the belief that every terrorist is a terrorist by birth.