Stifling Dissent And Attacking Freedom Of Expression: How The Intolerance Of The Right Wing Is A Threat To Us!

Posted on March 7, 2014 in Politics

By Mayank Jain:

A vanilla Monday working day and I was headed in the Delhi Metro towards Hauz Khas when some men wearing yellow T-shirts entered the coach from Rajeev Chowk, the compelling thing about them was their demeanor. One of them took away other’s phone and tried to run away with it in a playful manner and the guy shouted the exact same words “You are so gay”! I was shocked to the core, and it was not just about these two. Each one of them in that group of 8-9 people managed to stand out. I had to ask them about their weird yellow colored T-shirts and Modi’s sketch on the back. I had the answer, they were “Modi Volunteers”. He gave me a handout on Modi’s plan for the future and I noticed that the word ‘BJP’ was missing from everything that they wore, had, distributed or played with.

SiddharthVaradaraj

The story of Modi Miracle is an oft cited rhetoric but is it worth taking the risk when the ‘volunteers’ indulge in such behavior in broad daylight and have the guts to ask people to vote for Modi after they are over with their histrionics?

Senior journalist Siddharth Varadarajan, who was Editor of The Hindu newspaper, shared his story through his Twitter and Facebook profiles. He said that four men had beaten up the caretaker of his Delhi flat on 23rd February. “Tell your Sahab to watch what he says on TV,” they had told him. Siddharth is well known as a modi-critic in the online media and the police is investigating the source behind this attack. Similar threats have been issued to his wife as well.

The pressure is mounting up on many other independent journalists as well who are not afraid to speak out. Sagarika Ghose, deputy editor of CNN IBN, recently posted a slew of tweets about not just BJP and Modi but on the importance of independent media and the pressures that are apparently being put on her to criticize less. Here are some tweets from her and other journalists who spoke up against the attempts at silencing of voices:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similar stories came from Hartosh Singh Bal, who was fired from his position as political editor of the Open magazine in November. He didn’t receive a reason for the decision but an interview indicated what it might be.

In Gujarat, things are worse. Sedition cases against journalists are being charged at the drop of a hat. One among them is Manoj Shinde, who was charged in 2006 with sedition for criticizing the government’s flood relief efforts. Another person who was caught in this was Bharat Desai, Times of India’s Ahemadabad Editor who was charged with sedition for exposing corruption in the police.

Shinde has called the Modi government dictatorial and many people who have gone through such horrendous treatments for speaking out echo the same opinion. There have been too many dictators in the world with blatant support from the common people who expected them to do miracles by just battling eyelashes or waving the wands but we all know what followed.

Rajdeep Sardesai, in his column on FirstPost compared Modi’s individualism to Indira Gandhi. He emphasizes that their approaches of undermining the party and approaching elections on an individualistic appeal match and this is uncanny.

The democracy in India is the factor that accelerates our progress and not an obstacle and the curbing of anti Modi opinions or critique of BJP is far from the solution to the fundamental problems in the party, the person and his public perception.

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