Skip to main content

Dismantling democracy: Today it’s not merely writing on the wall; freedoms are curtailed, dissidence quashed

By Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*
The way Fatima, the mother of Najeeb Ahmed (#najeebahmed) the missing JNU student was treated on November 6, 2016 evening by the Delhi Police was just appalling. She was at a rally peacefully protesting with several others about the mysterious disappearance of her son. They were demanding that the Police and the Central Government need to do much more to trace Najeeb. The rally was disbanded by the police. There is enough of evidence (viral on social media) to show how Fatima was dragged, manhandled and detained by the police. Several other protestors (including students) were also detained.
This is not the first incident happening this past week. Some opposition political leaders who were protesting the death of a retired soldier were also arrested and were made to stop their protests. The son of the soldier who had gone to meet these leaders was beaten up by the police.
The popular TV Channel NDTV, will be taken off the air on November 9th for 24 hours because of the inconvenient questions they asked and their coverage of the Pathankot terror attack that took place on January 2nd this year. Another channel from Assam has been given the same treatment. For several months now, there has been a virtual black-out on the media (mainly electronic and social) from Kashmir.
The BJP, the main ruling party, has gone to town about the “surgical strikes” on Pakistan. This is rather unfortunate. Anyone questioning the veracity of these ‘surgical strikes’ or asking for more information is termed ‘anti-national’ or ‘unpatriotic’. Pakistan certainly does not have a favourable track record either on human rights or on the freedom of its citizens. However, there are well-meaning citizens in both countries who would like the avenues of dialogue to be kept open and to continue Indo-Pak bonding on meaningful fronts. This is also frowned upon.
India has upped its military spending. Precious foreign reserves are squandered on what is conveniently referred to as ‘upgrading’ the military. Countries who need to sell from their stockpiles, find India an easy customer. The budgets for essentials like education, health, agriculture, employment generation, poverty alleviation programmes- have been drastically cut. This does not augur well for ‘development’ meant to be inclusive and holistic.
Human rights defenders are pushed to the wall. Organizations which take a stand for truth and justice and for the Constitutional rights of the oppressed are denied the possibility of receiving foreign aid. Right-wing fascists with full support from the ruling class, lynch you or beat you because of what you believe in, eat, dress, write, see etc. Crony capitalism is on the rise.
It has never been so bad in India! Opposition, students and liberal media are suppressed; Rights and Freedoms are curtailed; dissent is quashed! Today it is not merely the writing on the wall: the dismantling of democracy has begun!
---
*Indian human rights activist, currently based in Lebanon, engaged with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the Middle East on advocacy and communications. Contact: cedricprakash@gmail.com

Comments

TRENDING

Green revolution "not sustainable", Bt cotton a failure in India: MS Swaminathan

Counterview Desk
In a recent paper in the journal “Current Science”, distinguished scientist PC Kesaven and his colleague MS Swaminathan, widely regarded as the father of the Green Revolution, have argued that Bt insecticidal cotton, widely regarded as the continuation of the Green Revolution, has been a failure in India and has not provided livelihood security for mainly resource-poor, small and marginal farmers.
Sharply taking on Green Revolution, the authors say, it has not been sustainable largely because of adverse environmental and social impacts, insisting on the need to move away from the simplistic output-yield paradigm that dominates much thinking. Seeking to address the concerns about local food security and sovereignty as well as on-farm and off-farm social and ecological issues associated with the Green Revolution, they argue in favour of what they call sustainable ‘Evergreen Revolution’, based on a ‘systems approach’ and ‘ecoagriculture’.
Pointing out that Evergreen Revol…

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Some Hindu bodies in US defending BJP-RSS' divisive, violent activities: Agnivesh

Counterview Desk Last week, Washington DC saw speakers at a religious freedom roundtable, chaired by the US Ambassador for Religious Freedom, Sam Brownback, express concern over "eroding" space for religious freedom in India. Dr Mike Ghouse, executive director, of the Center for Pluralism in Washington DC, referring to the roundtable, said in an email alert that Indian-Americans have "a moral duty to prevent India from being labeled as a Country of Particular Concern by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)".

Rejoinder: Inescapable to have Central Water Commission as strong technical body in India

By BN Navalawala*
This is with reference to Counterview Blog (December 5, 2018), "Modi govt 'shelves' water reforms report, shows 'no interest' in its recommendations", below mentioned are my comments/observations thereon:
A committee was constituted under the Chairmanship of Dr. Mihir Shah, Former Member, Planning Commission, for restructuring of Central Water Commission (CWC) and Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) for optimal development of water resources in the country in the backdrop of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM).

Murder of Tamil Nadu teenage Dalit girl: "Stoic silence" despite #MeToo movement

Counterview Desk
Brinelle D'souza, who is with the Centre for Health and Mental Health, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, has prepared a strong statement to protest the brutal murder of 13-year-old Rajalakshmi. "Other than a few media reports, this gruesome killing has not caught national attention despite a very vibrant #MeToo campaign currently underway", regrets D'souza.

Preventing childhood deaths: India performs worse than Bangladesh, "equals" Pakistan

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released study, “The Pneumonia and Diarrhea Progress Report 2018”, prepared by the International Vaccine Access Centre (IVAC) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has identified India among 15 other countries which are still far off the mark in achieving the targets of the Global Action Plan for the Prevention of Pneumonia and Diarrhea (GAPPD).

60 ex-civil servants seek release of CAG reports on Rafale, demonetisation before 2019 polls

Counterview Desk
As many as 60 retired civil servants have asked President Ram Nath Kovind to expedite the release of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) reports on demonetisation and the Rafale deal. The letter, signed mainly by former Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service and Indian Police Service officers, regrets that the status of the audit is "unclear”. According to them, “An impression is gaining ground that CAG is deliberately delaying its audit reports on demonetisation and Rafale deal till after the May 2019 elections so as not to embarrass the present government”.

India's rewritten textbooks talk of demerits of democracy, praise Hitler, underrate Mughals

Counterview Desk
A detailed, 3,800-word review of the books rewritten under directions of the BJP rulers across India since Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in May 2014 has suggested that one of aims of the books is to instill a sense of doubt about India’s democratic polity among the country’s young minds. Reviewed in the prestigious US journal, “The New York Review of Books”, in its latest issue (December 6, 2018) by Alex Traub, the scrutiny insists, the effort has also been to paint Indian history from the angle of “Hindu triumphalism”, even as creating “Islamophobia”.

Govt of India "tarnishing" NGO reputation, dossier leaked selectively: Amnesty

Counterview Desk
Amnesty International India has said that a deliberate attempt is being made to tarnish its reputation by leaking a dossier, supposedly made by investigating agencies, to media without giving it access to any such information. The high profile NGO’s claim follows a Times Now report about proceedings launched by investigative agencies, including Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the rights body for “violations” of rules pertaining to overseas donations.

Four children die after poor UP Dalit, Muslim families forced to flee to forest area: PVCHR

Counterview Desk
Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR) has said that the forest department police’s crackdown, allegedly without any prior notice, on Dalit and Muslim households in Dakhin Tola, Churk Bazaar, Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, beating up “children and old people, women, and men in an inhuman way”, has led to “forced displacement, starvation and discrimination”. This has reportedly affected about 350 people.