IAMC Weekly News Digest, 2nd July 2021
The internal Emergency imposed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was more than just an error of judgement. She herself admitted as much…. However, what has been happening since May 2014 is equally reprehensible. India is living in a state of an undeclared Emergency. The fourth BJP government at the Centre has renewed the project to rewrite the constitutional “idea of India”…. The NDA/BJP regime has perpetrated a full-fledged assault on pluralistic mores that characterise the Indian way of life. Campaigns around “love jihad” and “ghar wapasi” have kept social polarisation on a slow but continuous burn. Government apologists even rationalise communal lynchings…. Institutional subversion is the norm…. With large sections of the media already neutered and the rest sought to be reined in through delegated legislation targeted at social media intermediaries and courageous outliers in the electronic media, an Orwellian state has been created. Every person has been coerced to install a censor in his head for the fear that any honest opinion can lead to punitive action, ranging from trolling to spine-chilling reprisals under a repressive legal panoply. If this is not an undeclared Emergency, what else would you call it?
India is growing increasingly assertive in its efforts to control online communications, challenging Twitter and Facebook’s practices and threatening to set a precedent that could extend far beyond its borders. The largest U.S. internet firms are fighting new Intermediary rules issued by Narendra Modi’s government in February that they say curtail privacy and free speech. Officials have demanded Facebook Inc. and Twitter Inc. take down hundreds of posts this year, divulge sensitive user information and submit to a regulatory regime that includes potential jail terms for executives if companies don’t comply….
Messages, which call for violence against Muslims, are being circulated on social media through WhatsApp groups…. One such audio recording, which is a conversation call between a woman and a man, is also being shared on WhatsApp. In the audio, two people can be heard speaking about the “movement” to unite Hindus against Muslims…. The woman speaking in the audio tells that she hails from the Janakpuri area of Delhi and the other voice introduces himself as Sanjay Vashisht, National Secretary of a Hindutva outfit, hailing from Uttarakhand. The woman keeps instigating over the call and asks, “What is stopping Hindus from unleashing violence on Muslims?… The man on the other side says that they are continuously working to create not only forces but an army which will fight Muslims. “We have created armies in 12 districts of India so far and my motive is to create similar armies in 726 districts of India,” he says….
‘Threatened us, tried to extort money’: Muslim convert accuses media of misreporting, harassment
The Indian government continues to harass journalists. I’m facing prison over a tweet. – By Rana Ayyub