SURF

Dipin Kaur

Activism in the Context of Violations in Indian Conflict Zones: A Multi-Actor Approach

While it is the largest democracy in the world, Indias human rights record with respect to conflict zones has been unsteady at best. In many areas of the country with past and ongoing conflicts, the commission of human rights violations of the government has been continuous and widespread. The failure of the Indian state to investigate these human rights abuses committed by its own departments has created a structure where, in these areas of conflict, basic human rights have been suspended and faith in the democratic system, the police and the justice system is dangerously low.
In a bleak context where this abuse in conflict zones is a public secret of the Indian government, my research project aims to juxtapose this environment of human rights violations on one hand, with the traces of activism observed in these areas on the other by asking the question: (How) has the dehumanizing experience of human rights abuse by governmental forces affected the formation of patterns of activism in conflict zones in India? To this end, I will be interviewing four groups legal representatives engaged in conflict zones, journalists covering conflict zones, human rights defenders or activists championing victim causes within conflict zones, and politicians at the local level to find out whether the observed instances of activism in these areas exhibit underlying patterns, or are at this point, only spontaneous and disjointed occurrences in response to violations.

Message to Sponsor

I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity given to me by SURF and the Wishek Fund donors to be able to spend my summer combining my passion for human rights and the Indian subcontinent. While the troubling linkages of torture and extrajudicial killings in conflict zones to patterns of the lack of accountability in the state are being documented in some regions, a juxtaposition of this narrative of impunity with patterns of activism may successfully recognize individual efforts to counter governmental abuse, and provide an additional perspective to the understanding of the effects of human rights violations in conflict zones.
  • Major: Political Science, Public Policy (Minor)
  • Sponsor: Wishek
  • Mentor: Darren Zook, Political Science, International and Area Studies