What you need to know:
- Is India killing democracy?
- Is democracy in India threatened?
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Three news items and subsequent vociferous debates on Indian media channels from India are confirming the worst fears one had when the Modi Sarkar or government came in for a second term. The fear is that the world’s largest democracy will be slowly pulled away from the cherished principles of democracy, secularism and inclusiveness by the right-wing ruling party.
The first news is the passing of Right to Information (RTI) amendment bill in the parliament. It took a lot of sweat and struggle to get this act passed and this was considered a milestone in the annals of legislation as it confirmed the common people’s right to information.
By the present amendment, the government is aiming to control the process of dissemination of information to their benefit, and thereby, defeating the very purpose of this important law. So, from now on, one will know only what the government will want you to know.
The second is the additional powers provided to the National Investigation Agency (NIA) with terrorism related issue, in which they can name anyone as a terrorist, without trials or even substantial evidences. It is easy to understand how this will be used by the current government to gag those voices criticising them or any liberal opinions from the populace. Nationalism as such is redefined by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) means towing the line.
The third news underscores the above. This was about an open letter written by 49 eminent personalities expressing deep concerns about the numerous mob lynching happening in the country by the so called “Cow Vigilante” groups taking many lives and maiming several others.
Even more dangerous is the fact that they use religion as a tool. This trend is increasing and driving a wedge in the communities, and it is quite natural that right minded people are disturbed. Our social secular fabric, based on strong principles of inclusiveness is being torn apart.
As expected, some of the Indian media channels that have political affiliations went ballistic, and blamed the signatories as anti-Hindu. One BJP leader even had the audacity to ask one of the signatories, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, the famous filmmaker, to go to the moon if he does not want to listen to the Hindu phrase “Jai Shri Ram” (Praise the deity Ram)!
To add to this is the recent development in Karnataka where the ruling party is using money and muscle power to torpedo elected governments in provinces. It is quite clear that the path BJP is taking the country on is scary.
The constitutional bodies are one by one being tampered and their independence usurped. It is not very far when the Indian Constitution itself will be questioned
- The reader is a marine engineering consultant based in Dubai.