India only “partly free” in 2022, political rights of Muslims threatened: US report
The renowned US-based think tank Freedom House has once again rated India as only a “partly free” nation in its recently released Freedom in the World 2023 assessment, saying that “the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has presided over discriminatory policies and a rise in persecution affecting the Muslim population.”
Ranking India at only 66 out of 100 nations in terms of democratic freedoms, Freedom House raised concerns about the illegal bulldozing of Muslim-owned homes and businesses, attacks on press freedoms, laws criminalizing religious conversion and interfaith marriage, religious violence encouraged by lawmakers, and “harassment of journalists, nongovernmental organizations, and other government critics.”
The report also slammed the rise of Hindu supremacism or Hindu nationalism, stating that the Modi government has been accused of “encouraging… anti-Muslim views.”
“Attacks against Muslims and others in connection with the alleged slaughter or mistreatment of cows, which are held to be sacred by Hindus, continued in 2022. The BJP has faced criticism for failing to mount an adequate response to cow-related violence,” the report said.
Modi govt angered over article in New York Times on press freedom in Kashmir
The New York Times has published an opinion piece written by the editor of a Kashmiri newspaper, the Kashmir Times, slamming the Modi administration for its Hindu supremacist policies and for stifling press freedoms throughout India and Kashmir.
“[Modi’s] Hindu-chauvinist movement, which has normalized intolerance and violence against Indian Muslims, has already put severe pressure on India’s once-rambunctious press, with journalists surveilled and jailed, and the government using strong-arm tactics against media outlets to ensure favorable coverage,” wrote Anuradha Bhasin, owner and executive editor of the Kashmir Times.
Bhasin also criticized the government’s recent raids on the BBC’s India offices, labeling the crackdown as an extension of draconian laws already imposed on Kashmir.
The piece has triggered the ire of the Indian government, with the union minister for information and broadcasting Anurag Thakur accusing the New York Times of having an anti-India agenda.
“NYT’s so called opinion piece on freedom of press in Kashmir is mischievous & fictitious, published with a sole motive to spread propaganda about India and its democratic institutions and values,” Thakur claimed in a tweet.
Muslim cricketer heckled by Hindu supremacists during India-Australia test match
Muhammad Shami, a player for India’s national cricket team, was heckled by Hindu supremacists who chanted “Shami, Jai Shri Ram” and other religious slogans as the players huddled near the dugout after the day’s play.
As the team’s only Muslim player, Shami has been subjected to extensive trolling by Hindu supremacists throughout recent years, including accusations that Shami was working to throw matches in favor of Pakistan.
“Jai Shri Ram” is a Hindu religious slogan turned warcry by Hindu supremacists who chant it while harassing, abusing, and lynching Muslims.