IAMC Weekly News Digest, 19th February 2021
How Long Will Joe Biden Pretend Narendra Modi’s India Is a Democratic Ally? – By Debasish Roy Chowdhury
“Democracy” is the one word that gets thrown around a lot when India and America talk about their relationship…. The “world’s oldest democracy” and the “world’s largest democracy” won’t let the world forget why they’re in it together. And, so it was when President Joe Biden spoke with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone Feb. 8 for the first time since the new U.S. Administration took power….The U.S. would like to see India as an ideological and strategic counter to China’s rise, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to overlook India’s fast-declining democratic standards. The daily assaults on civil liberties and the threats to India’s Muslim minority under Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have noticeably increased since Modi’s re-election in 2019. Hate speech is rife, peaceful dissent is criminalized, freedom of expression and association faces new constraints, and the jails are filling up with political prisoners and peaceful dissenters as a servile judiciary looks away….
What do BJP leaders and sundry Hindu nationalists do when a YouTuber calls for Indian journalists to be “hanged”? They describe his video as an “honest cause”, insist that it contains “nothing illegal or offensive”, and swarm Twitter to condemn the fact that YouTube, quite correctly, took the video down for violating its policies. The video was published on February 11 by a man who posts from an account called The String…. Titled “Arrest Rathee, Zubair, Barkha NOW! (Greta Toolkit Exposed)”,… The video’s targets included Barkha Dutt, Mohammed Zubair, Saket Gokhale, Newslaundry, Scroll, Alt News, the Wire, the Quint, the News Minute, India Spend, Outlook India, and PARI. The video specifically demanded that the journalists and activists in question “be hanged”. When the video was taken down, BJP bigwigs such as its spokespersons in Mumbai and Tamil Nadu and former Delhi MLA Kapil Mishra took to Twitter in protest. So did members of the RSS….
Former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy on Monday likened the actions of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, to the Nazis’. He said RSS members were marking houses of those who made donations for the Ram Temple in the same manner in which the Hitler regime identified Jews in concentration camps…. “It appears that those collecting donations for the construction of Ram Mandir have been separately marking the houses of those who paid money and those who did not,” the Janata Dal (Secular) leader wrote. “This is similar to what Nazis did in Germany during the regime of Hitler when lakhs of people lost their lives.”…