A discussion on the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Bill, 2019, took a bizarre turn in the Lok Sabha on Friday, after BJP MP Satypal Singh attempted to prove wrong Charles Darwin's theory of evolution in Parliament. The former Mumbai police chief, dismissed the 'man evolved from ape' theory and instead dished out his own, based on what he claims to be 'culture'.
“Our culture says we are the children of rishis. I don’t want to offend people who believe that we are children of monkeys but according to our culture we are children of rishis,” he proclaimed confidently.
Singh made this statement while he was arguing that human rights was a foreign concept conceptualised in the West. He claimed that Indian culture did not give importance to this issue and that the writers of the Constitution was inspired by the American Constitution when it came to fundamental rights.
And according to reports, this is not the first time that Singh has, without a shred of scientific evidence, challenged Darwin.
When he was Minister of State for Human Resource Development in 2018, he proposed that the theory of evolution must be changed in school and college curriculum.
“Darwin’s theory (of evolution of humans) is scientifically wrong. It needs to change in school and college curriculum. Since the man is seen on Earth he has always been a man,” he had then told the media. “Nobody, including our ancestors, in written or oral, have said they saw an ape turning into a man," he argued.
This time however, his statement did not go unchallenged in the house.
DMK MP Kanimozhi, with a wry smile on her face said, "Unfortunately, my ancestors are not rishis. My ancestors are homo sapiens, as science says, and my parents are shudras. They were not even born of any god, or part of any god. They were born outside and I am here and many people from my state are here because of the social justice movement and the human rights which we fought for till today and we will continue doing that."
Trinamool Congress’s Saugata Roy too registered his objection to the statement and pointed out that Singh was violating the Constitution, which “says that it shall be the duty of every citizen of India to develop scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform”.
On Friday, the lower house passed the bill, which sought to amend the composition of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the state human rights commissions. The Bill amends the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993 to provide that a person who has been Chief Justice of India or an SC judge will be the chairperson of NHRC.