7. Reading Skills Comprehension: Prisoners

By | June 17, 2019

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 Amnesty International’s charge that ‘tens of thousands’ of political prisoners, including prisoners of conscience, are languishing in Indian jails and that prisoners are routinely tortured in this country has to be seen in a much wider context than the organization’s annual report cares to do. In its overall appraisal of 151 countries, Amnesty has accused 112 of torturing prisoners, 63 of harbouring prisoners of conscience, 61 of resorting to political killings and 53 of detaining people without a trial. Of these apparently overlapping categories, India seems to have been excluded from the list of the 61 which undertake political killings. The report has, however, pointed out that scores of people in India die of torture in police and military custody and that many also simply disappear. Clearly, only a thin line separates the 61 charged with political murder from the rest. Before coming to such conclusions, however, it may also be necessary to classify the various countries according to their political systems. Torture by the security forces and killings at the behest of the government make no difference to the victims whether they are in a democratic country or a totalitarian one. It is also nobody’s case that a democratic country is less culpable than a dictatorship in the event of human rights violations. But the point perhaps still needs to be made that torture or ‘disappearances’ represent a failure of the sister in democracy in contrast to being an integral part of state policy in a country ruled by an autocrat who is answerable to no one.

India may be guilty of keeping ‘tens of thousands’ behind bars and of the other human rights abuses mentioned by Amnesty, but it still remains a qualitatively different place from a totalitarian country. It is in this respect that Amnesty has been less than fair. It has chosen to ignore the distinctions between the good, the bad and the- ugly. The openness of Indian society will be evident to anyone who spends half an hour in one of its chaotic market-places or visits the law courts or watches a political rally or reads a newspaper or strikes up a conversation with any person on the roads. There is no sense of fear in India, as in a dictatorship. There is also scope for securing relief from the heavy-handed behaviour of the authorities, even if the human rights commission has not yet lived up to expectations. Unless such points are recognized, Amnesty’s assessment will seem to be a dry recital of statistics which may pillory India simply because of its larger population. Mercifully, Amnesty nowadays at least notes that the terrorists also indulge in human rights violations and that India has to cope with several insurgencies fomented by a country where the military does not always seem to be under the control of the elected government. True, there is much that is wrong in India’s prison system and with the way the terrorist challenge is sometimes met, but the stress should be on activating the self-correcting mechanism within a democracy and not merely on painting a grim, even biased, picture.

                                                                                    (Bank P.O. 1995)

1. In the report, India has been excluded from which of the following categories of violating human rights?

(a) Torturing prisoners

(b) Detaining without trial

(c) Political killings

(d) Harbouring prisoners of conscience

(e) None of these

2. Which of the following is not true in the context of the passage?

(a) India is guilty of some human rights abuses.

(b) Amnesty International appraised all the democratic countries.

 (c) There is an overlapping of cases in the categories of human rights abuses.

(d) India was one of the countries appraised by Amnesty International.

 (e) The report notes that the terrorists also violate human rights.

3. According to the passage, through which media or forum Amnesty International has hurled the charges?

(a) Seminar on Human rights

(b) Its Regional Meet

(c) Its Annual Report

(d) It’s International Meet

(e) None of these

4. The author of the passage

(a) agrees with the report

(b) disagrees with the report

(c) disagrees that conditions of prisons in India are bad

(d) supports the totalitarian approach

(e) disagrees with a report on terrorists  

5. Amnesty International’s report is based on the information of how many countries?

(a) 63

(b) 112

(c) 131

(d) 115

(e) None of these

6. The author suggests the classification of various countries on one additional dimension. Which of

The following is that dimension?

(a) Economic progress

(b) Human Rights

(c) Industrial progress

(d) Political systems

(c) None of these

7. According to the passage, what does political murder in a democratic country signify?

(a) Failure of system

(b) The policy of the country

(c) Need for autocratic rule

(d) Openness of society

(e) Heavy-handed behaviour of the authorities

8. Which of the following human rights violation is most prevalent among the countries?

(a) Killing with a political motive

(b) Detaining without trial

(c) Torturing prisoners

(d) Harbouring prisoners of conscience

(e) None of these

9. Which of the following is the meaning of the phrase ‘strike up’ as used in the passage?

(a) hit sharply                         

( b) initiate

(c) discussion                         

(d) protest

(e) undertake

10. Which of the following seems to be the main purpose of writing this passage?

(a)  lb highlight the sufferings of prisoners

(b) lb condemn political killings

(c) lb highlight the role of Amnesty International

(d) To further the cause of human rights

(e) None of these

11. According to the author, among the good, the bad and the ugly, what at worst is the situation in India?

(a) Good

(b) Bad

(c) Ugly

(d) Good or ugly

(e) Bad or Ugly

12. Which of the following is true according to the passage?

(a) There is a need to check political killings in India.

(b) The Human Rights Commission has done commendable service.

(c) There is a need to improve India’s prison system.

(d) India is not at all guilty of human rights violation.

(e) None of these

Directions (Q. 13-16): Choose the word which is most nearly the same in meaning as the given word as used in the passage.


(a) many

(b) majority

(d) grudge

(c) a few

(e) variety


(a) suppressed

(b) instigated

(c) faced

(d) disturbed

(e) formed


(a) cynical                   

(b) troublesome

 (c) capable                 

(d) imputable

(e) adulatory


(a) hold a grudge        

(b) become sick

 (c) torture      

(d) remain neglected

(e) terrorize

Directions (Q. 17-18): Choose the word which is most nearly the opposite in meaning of the Given word as used in the passage.


(a) different                

(b) override

(c) dependent             

(d) coincidental

(e) independent


(a) penalize                 

(b) damage

(c) appreciate              

(d) exclude

(e) include


1. (c)                2. (b)

3. (c)                4. (b)

5. (e)                6. (b)

7. (a)                8. (c)

9. (b)               10. (a)

11. (d)             12. (c)

13. (c)             14. (b)

15.(b)             16.(c )

17. (a)            18. (a)

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