The virus of authoritarian strain – By Divya Trivedi
Even as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the right-wing regime in India is working overtime to stifle democratic voices. A strict lockdown, which prevents citizens from gathering, has come in handy for the government to crush dissent against its communal policies, especially the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
According to some reports, as many as 800 people have been detained or arrested since the lockdown began on the charge of rioting in North East Delhi. Some activists against the Act have been booked under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), which allows the police to detain an accused for up to six months without producing a shred of evidence for crime.
Most of the people arrested during the lockdown were Muslim men and women (one of them pregnant), including university students and riot-affected people.… Speaking to Frontline, North East Delhi residents said that even some 40 days into the lockdown, the police kept coming in droves of 20 or 30 to arrest young Muslim men. If they could not find the person they were looking for, they picked up his family members and detained them until the person they were after appeared before them.