Tuesday October 03, 2023

Fascism in India

By Editorial Board
July 01, 2022

The blocking of official Twitter accounts of Pakistani missions by India is yet another sign of how the BJP government is losing its democratic credentials – which were hardly there to start with – and diplomatic balance at the same time. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority(PTA) has taken up the blocking with Twitter management and demanded their restoration. Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also condemned India for its actions. The BJP government in India has been extremely authoritarian in its suppression of information from both local and international sources,failing to observe the most basic rights related to flow of information, and has been targeting anyone voicing dissent from the officially approved version of the BJP. There is no constitutional or legal justification for this attitude of the government of India. The Indian government itself violates all democratic norms and blames its critics for crimes they never committed. By doing this India is not simply displaying fascist tendencies, it is following a deliberate policy of disregarding national and international laws and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

By utilizing the emergency clauses in different laws, the BJP’s Hindu nationalist government is suppressing all dissent and disagreement in society. For any modern society to thrive and gain respect, it needs to allow diverse thoughts rather than discouraging them systematically. In India,the space for plurality has diminished alarmingly in recent years. Not unrelated to this is the Indian insinuation linking a Pakistani organization to the suspects involved in the murder of a Hindu tailor in Udaipur. The BJP-RSS combine has been fanning communal violence for long but lately this has taken a ferocious turn. Their leaders have been spewing venom against Muslims and other religious minorities in India, prompting demonstrations across India and in other countries.

Nearly 20 countries have summoned Indian envoys to express their displeasure. But the government of India does not seem to relent in its drive of crushing dissent. Independent journalist Rana Ayyub has been on the receiving end for long. Now so is rights activist and journalist Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-checking website AltNews. Zubair has been a vocal critic of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and has been punished for this by an arbitrary arrest. Ostensibly, the police arrested him for questioning and then a Delhi court ordered that the police could hold him for four more days for further investigation – highlighting how even the judiciary in India is happily toeing the line of the BJP government. Activists such as Zubair, Rana Ayyub, and Teesta Setalvad – who has also been arrested – have played a major role in drawing attention to the BJP-RSS misdeeds in India. They have become a target for their crucial work combating disinformation and calling out discrimination against minorities. The situation in India has reached a crisis point and calls for international condemnation. It is hard to understand how the BJP government has been able to get away with so much victimization. We would expect much larger protests from watchdog groups, and the many others which operate around the world as well as governments which claim to support democracy and freedom.