IAMC Weekly News Digest 16th April 2021
Why Biden should be careful about courting India’s Modi government – By Knox Thames and Simran Jeet Singh
The United States is putting on a full-court press to deepen ties with India. President Joe Biden included India in the first-ever heads of state meeting of “The Quad,” an exclusive group that also includes Japan and Australia, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visited Delhi as part of his first trip abroad. All in an effort to find friends in Asia to counter expansionist China. But while Beijing crushes dissent at home and flexes its muscle abroad, is India the right US partner to ensure stability, prosperity, and freedom in the region? Democratic India appears as a logical and natural ally. However, the regressive actions of Narendra Modi’s government put the answer in doubt. India’s atmosphere has darkened since Prime Minister Modi came to power in 2014. Freedom House recently downgraded the country to “partially free,” citing a “multiyear pattern in which the Hindu nationalist government and its allies have presided over rising violence and discriminatory policies affecting the Muslim population and pursued a crackdown on expressions of dissent.”…
A muezzin…. Mohammed Sufiuddin, 54, a resident of Chakbazar in Chinsurah, said that around 3.45am on Wednesday, he was riding a bicycle to the mosque from his home when three motorcycle-borne youths accosted him near the Chakbazar More and asked him to chant “Jai Shri Ram”. “I told them about my religious identity and requested them not to force me to chant the slogan. At this, one of the youths slapped me hard and I fell down with my cycle. As I cried in pain, the youths escaped from the scene. There was no one around as it was too early in the morning,” said Sufiuddin. “Jai Shri Ram” has been converted into a war cry by the BJP since the 2019 general election…. Trinamul leaders in Hooghly accused the BJP of trying to disturb communal harmony in Chinsurah….
Facebook allowed a network of fake accounts to artificially inflate the popularity of an MP from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), for months after being alerted to the problem. The company was preparing to remove the fake accounts but paused when it found evidence that the politician was probably directly involved in the network, internal documents seen by the Guardian show. The company’s decision not to take timely action against the network, which it had already determined violated its policies, is just the latest example of Facebook holding the powerful to lower standards than it does regular users….