New Delhi: Contending that "reasonable
restrictions" on liberties were sometimes needed to ensure
public order and communal harmony, Congress MP Shashi Tharoor
has said content like Facebook pages promoting inflammatory
causes should not be allowed to "go viral" on Internet.
Defending Union Minister Kapil Sibal`s statement, Tharoor
said his "main concern" for asking Facebook and Google to
screen user-generated content was the misuse of internet for
inflammatory causes with potential of causing violence and
threat to social harmony.
"Facebook pages calling for extermination of certain
religious communities or castes were dangerous to India`s
social fabric and should not be allowed to go viral on the
net, as they could lead to violence and pogroms.
"If someone is holding a match stick to destroy a petrol
pump, my concern is to save the pump and not to defend the
freedom of action of the vandal lighting the match," Tharoor
said last evening while inaugurating a two-day Knowledge
Sharing Workshop on `Sub-Regional Human Rights Mechanisms`
organised by the OP Jindal Global University and the United
Nations Development Programme (UNDP) here.
In a statement issued by the University, Tharoor said
"public order and communal harmony were higher priorities for
the nation and maintenance of these priorities could sometimes
entail reasonable restrictions on liberties."
He said an individual`s rights have to be limited in the
event that they are violating the rights of large groups to
live in peace.
Tharoor said "democratic freedoms should not become
licence to incite people to discriminate, attack, defame or
malign innocent fellow citizens. With all rights come
His keynote address to the gathering elaborated the
universality of human rights and reasonable limits on this
concept based on local cultural and social requirements.
Speaking at the occasion, Professor C Raj Kumar, Vice
Chancellor, OP Jindal Global University called for
establishing a regional human rights institutional mechanism
in South Asia.
He said "establishment of a South Asian Human Rights
Commission that will have a broad mandate to protect and
promote human rights in all countries in South Asia will help
in developing a shared understanding of human rights values
within South Asia".