India Among Top 10 Autocratising Nations, Reports Sweden-Based V-Dem Institute
A report released by the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Institute, an independent Sweden-based research institute, labeled India as one of the world’s top 10 autocratising nations, landing it in the bottom 40% to 50% of nations. India’s backslide on democracy was compared to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Thailand, and the Philippines.
“[Prime Minister] Narendra Modi led the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to victory in India’s 2014 elections and most of the decline occurred following BJP’s victory and their promotion of a Hindu-nationalist agenda,” V-Dem’s Democracy Report 2021 said.
The BJP was also referenced as an “anti-pluralist” party that is “driving the autocratisation” in India. The report elaborated, “Anti-pluralist parties and their leaders lack a commitment to the democratic process, disrespect fundamental minority rights, encourage demonization of political opponents, and accept political violence. These ruling parties tend to be nationalist-reactionary and have used government power to push forward autocratic agendas.”
The report also noted India’s “steep decline” on the Liberal Democracy Index scale, which has dropped 23 percentage points since 2013, “making it one of the most dramatic shifts among all countries in the world over the past 10 years.”
Hindu Extremist Youth Harass Hijabi Women, Demand They Leave Examination Hall
Hindu extremist students were caught on video harassing their hijabi Muslim classmates in Karnataka state, demanding that they leave the examination hall even though the Muslim girls had been permitted to wear the hijab on the campus. The video shows a group of male Hindu extremist students ganging up on a hijabi student, forcing a police officer to come between them before the situation could escalate.
Karnataka’s debate over wearing the hijab in schools is far from over, with Hindu extremists, including BJP leaders harassing Muslims both online and offline, doxxing them, and threatening them with arrest. Muslim women continue to defy the Karnataka High Court’s unconstitutional interim order banning religious dress, including the hijab.
Hiba Sheik, one of the Muslim students, demanded to know why the government continues to interfere in the matter.
“We (Muslim girl students) were allowed permission inside the college premises and have been told that we can also sit in the library and study. The principal has also assured [that they will be] organising online classes for us,” she said.
Hindu Extremists On Twitter Tell Muslim Student Stranded In Ukraine To Die For Criticizing Narendra Modi
In a callous and inhumane effort to declare critics of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as unfit for rescue, Hindu extremist social media users harassed Rashid Rizwan, an Indian Muslim student stranded in Ukraine, after discovering that he had expressed his solidarity with the victims of 2020 anti-Muslim pogrom in Delhi and criticized the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
The CAA is a discriminatory bill that fast-tracks citizenship for religious minorities, excluding Muslims. Muslims who protested the bill were often met with violence and harassment from both police and Hindu extremist mobs, who were encouraged to kill Muslims by leaders of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Rather than empathize with Rizwan’s plight, Hindu extremists have unleashed anti-Muslim and hateful vitriol against the student. One article online labeled him an “avid supporter of rioters and Islamists.” A social media user posted that they hoped a rocket would kill Rizwan, while others sent him hateful messages on Twitter.
“[They] said that I should die because I am a traitor,” said Rizwan. “The Constitution starts with We the people, no? Does that not include Muslims?”
Thousands of Indian students remain stranded in Ukraine as Russia continues its invasion, while the Indian government’s incompetence in evacuations has led to panic and hopelessness among the students and their families.