Op/Ed: India should Honor Mandela by Giving Its Citizens Equal Rights


NEW DELHI—It has been announced officially that National flags will fly at half-mast till Tuesday, in what will be a 5 day mourning period for the entire country to pay respect to Nelson Mandela.  Nelson Mandela passed away yesterday.

In a rare gesture, houses of Parliament were adjourned yesterday and tributes were paid to Nelson Mandela.  Such types of tributes are seldom paid to foreign figures.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stated that passing away of Nelson Mandela is a huge loss for India as it is for South Africa.

Nelson Mandela, a civil rights leader in South Africa fought against apartheid, a system where non-white citizens were segregated from whites.  Nelson Mandela served a good portion of his life in prison for his protests, and later became the president of South Africa.

Nelson Mandela will be remembered as one of World’s greatest leaders who fought for human rights.  India on the other hand has denied basics rights to its citizens.  While the country is mourning the demise of Nelson Mandela, it continues to torture and punish minority leaders who stand up for their rights.  Sikhs, Muslims, Dalis and others have long suffered from the hands of Indian Government.

A real tribute to Nelson Mandela would be when India grants equal status to all its citizens.  Human Rights organizations, including the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have long continued to include India in their list of countries where physical torture methods are imposed and basic human rights are violated.


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