Skip to main content

Modi's governance behind "lynch-mob mentality", says NYT, warns democracy, economic reforms are at risk

Modi with Rajnath Singh
By Our Representative
Influential US daily “The New York Times” (NYT) has blamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and his governance for what it has called “lynch-mob mentality”, which erupted in Delhi following the arrest of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Kanhaiya Kumar on February 12 on charges of sedition.
NYT notes editorially, things have reached such a point that “India is in the throes of a violent clash between advocates of freedom of speech and the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its political allies on the Hindu right determined to silence dissent.”
Particularly disapproving Union home minister Rajnath Singh’s statement on the day after Kumar’s arrest, Home Minister Rajnath Singh – that “if anyone raises anti-India slogans and tries to raise question on the nation’s unity and integrity, they will not be spared” – the daily demands, the sedition charge against Kumar should be immediately dropped.
NYT insists, “India’s Supreme Court has limited the definition of India’s colonial-era crime of sedition to speech that is ‘incitement to imminent lawless action”, adding, “Singh apparently does not realize that, in a democracy, voicing dissent is a vital right, not a crime.”
Asking Modi to immediately “rein in his ministers and his party, and defuse the current crisis, or risk sabotaging both economic progress and India’s democracy,” NYT approvingly quotes Pratap Bhanu Mehta, well-known policy expert, who said that members of Modi’s government “have threatened democracy”, which is “the most anti-national of all acts.”
The editorial, titled "India’s Crackdown on Dissent" (February 22), approved by NYT's powerful editorial board, says, “This confrontation raises serious concerns about Modi’s governance and may further stall any progress in Parliament on economic reforms.”
Giving a short summary of the current crisis, NYT says, it “began with the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar... by the Delhi police on charges of sedition”, adding, “Kumar’s arrest followed an on-campus rally on February 9 that marked the anniversary of the 2013 hanging of Muhammad Afzal.”
Even as pointing out that Afzal was “convicted of participating in the 2001 terrorist attack by an Islamist group based in Pakistan on India’s Parliament”, the daily does not fail to underline, “The circumstances of Muhammad Afzal’s trial and execution remain controversial.”
The daily blames BJP’s student wing, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), and the “new university leadership appointed by Modi’s government for being “involved in calling the police on campus and singling out Kumar”.
It points to how the court in Delhi, where Kumar’s hearing took place last week was a scene of chaos, as lawyers and BJP supporters chanting “glory to Mother India” and “traitors leave India” assaulted journalists and students.”
“The police refused to intervene”, NYT says, adding, “A BJP member of India’s legislative assembly, Om Prakash Sharma, who was recorded on camera severely beating a student, said later, “There is nothing wrong in beating up or even killing someone shouting slogans in favor of Pakistan,” as some students were accused of doing.”
“Meanwhile”, it says, “Hundreds of journalists marched last week in protest from the Press Club of India to the Supreme Court in New Delhi. Thousands of students and faculty at universities across India have turned out to protest in recent days.”
Praising them, the daily says, “These Indian citizens are right to voice their outrage at government threats to the exercise of their democratic rights.”

Comments

TRENDING

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Visually challenged lady seeks appointment with Gujarat CM, is 'unofficially' detained

By Pankti Jog*
It was a usual noon of November 10. I got a phone call on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline No 9924085000 from Ranjanben of Khambhat, narrating her “disgraceful” experience after she had requested for an appointment with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. She wanted to meet Rupani, on tour of the Khambhat area in Central Gujarat as part of his Janvikas Jumbesh (Campaign for Development).

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

Violent 'Ajodhya' campaign in 1840s after British captured Kabul, destroyed Jama Masjid

Counterview Desk  Irfan Ahmad, professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, and author of “Islamism and Democracy in India” (Princeton University Press, 2009), short-listed for the 2011 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize for the best study in Social Sciences, in his "initial thoughts" on the Supreme Court judgment on the Babri-Jam Janmaboomi dispute has said, while order was “lawful”, it was also “awful.”

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says: