Curbing freedom of expression: The tainted democracy of Narendra Modi
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2016-02-28 07:43:18

Curbing freedom of expression: The tainted democracy of Narendra Modi

modi

 

 

Criticising the government for using archaic laws to suppress dissent, Amnesty International, in its report for 2015-16, has included India among countries that have failed to match up to the “international standard” of freedom of expression and civil liberties. The report especially noted that over the past year, crackdown on freedom of expression by majoritarian groups linked to the government had intensified, and said, “Censorship and attacks on freedom of expression by hardline Hindu groups grew. Scores of artists, writers and scientists returned national honours in protest against what they said was a climate of growing intolerance”. The annual report said India held at least 3,200 prisoners in various prisons without trial under executive order. The report said the country had failed to prevent “hundreds” of communal and ethnic riots in the past one year. Some politicians contributed to religious tensions by making speeches justifying discrimination and violence,” said the report, while noting that incidents of non-vegetarianism and cow slaughter had often been cited as justification for communal and mob violence. It criticised India for a negative gender justice environment, and for violating international legal obligations for the recent modifications in the juvenile justice system which “allows children aged 16 to 18 to be treated as adults in cases of serious crimes”. It has spoken critically of the government’s support for intolerance through both speech and action. NGOs critical of the Indian government have seen restrictions imposed on their funding, individuals have been kept in prison without any charges or trial and there is growing minorities- and caste-based discrimination.

Meanwhile, the Indian government terms criticism of its actions attempts to take attention away from its cornerstone policy of rapid economic growth. Mr Modi has said that he is the prime minister for the whole of India, not just of people belonging to a particular religion or caste. However, as protesters marched through Delhi, decrying the government’s decision to arrest a student leader on sedition charges, his assertion did not seem to hold true. The sedition charges are viewed as yet another attempt to censor free speech and curb the right of individuals to question government policies and actions. Amnesty International has noted in its report that while the Indian government does not appear willing to take measures to uphold civil liberties, the people of India have different ideas. There is widespread criticism from various segments of society against intolerance. If India is to become the pluralistic society it wishes to be, its government needs to pay attention to the voice of the people for whom the good days still seem a distant dream.

 

pk.shafaqna.com

 

 

 

 

Categories:   Society ، India ،
Tags:   India ، Modi ، Freedom of speech ،
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