By Ali Abbas:
While majority of the media may project it as a glorious one year for Modi government, as a layman belonging to minority community and working with an NGO, I fear we are heading towards authoritarian regime.
A year back, Modiji sold the dream of development, for which his government secured an absolute majority in the parliament. But if we separate facts from fantasies, his development dream is turning out to be a business plan for certain corporate houses.
Comparing with what was promised and what is delivered, it seems like, “Make the lie big, keep saying it, and eventually they will believe it.”
Extremist right wing forces are on the rise, targeting minorities has only increased in one year. And by minorities I mean not just Muslims, but also Christians, Dalits and other non-Hindu communities.
Polarisation of votes before every state election seems to be the underlining strategy of BJP’s “Chanakya” Amit Shah. With every poll, a fresh attack is launched on minorities by introducing terms like “Love Jihad” and “Bahu Lao, Beti Bachao“.
Seems like “Ghar Wapsi” is now a full-fledged programme. It has endorsement, not just from RSS the ideological mentor of BJP, but also from some BJP Parliamentarians. Sadhvi Saraswati predicts that through proper implementation of Ghar Wapsi, the population of Hindus will soon reach to 125 crore by “reconverting” Muslims and Christians. We have also noticed numerous attacks on churches in the past year.
Be it “Hindu women must have at least 4 children” or describing Nathuram Godse as patriot by M.P. Sakshi Maharaj, M.P. Aditiyanath accusing Muslims for frequent communal riots in UP, or the latest from MoS for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, “Those who cannot live without eating beef should go to Pakistan“. Such irresponsible comments either caused fear and mistrust among minorities other irrational comments became laughing stock on social networking sites.
Muzzling Dissent In Democracy
Civil society has a long history of representing people’s voices. Their opinion plays the crucial role in framing laws and further implementation on ground. Activist fights for the issues which are otherwise ignored by authorities and main stream media. NGOs reach out and support to millions of downtrodden people in the country. They take up societal building activities and employ nearly 20 million people.
But the Modi government thinks otherwise. In the past one year there has been a crackdown on civil societies, NGOs and other social organizations. The most targeted one is Greenpeace India, a leading environmental organization in 42 countries is on the verge of shutting down its office in India. It was alleged that the Ford Foundation is “interfering in the internal affairs” and “abetting communal disharmony” through social activist Teesta Setalvad’s Sabrang trust and under Home Ministry’s scanner. The Home ministry further cancelled the registration of 8975 NGOs.
The most common reasons cited for such actions by Home Ministry is, these organizations and activists are obstacles in the “development” of the country. The most common way is to “leak a report” in the media and before the organization or activist responds, chock their funding.
In one statement PM Modi expressed, “The judiciary is not as fearless today as it used to be ten years back. Are five-star activists not driving the judiciary?” He not just ridiculed activism but also undermined the judiciary.
Rules Are Meant To Be Broken
The past year has noticed major amendments and dilution in laws, the most infamous being the Land Acquisition Bill. Social activist Anna Hazara asked for an open debate with Prime Minister on the Bill and said, “The government is tweaking the law to benefit the corporates and bring ‘achhe din’ for them.”
Opposition parties and some of government’s own allies have strongly objected the bill terming it as pro-corporate and anti-farmer. Unable to pass it in the parliament with no numbers in Rajya Sabha, the Bill was finally sent to a 30 member joint committee.
Also in the list is the dilution of the power of National Green Tribunal as an advisory body. Whistle-blower protection act has been diluted on the pretext of “National Security“. In its attempts to influence industrial driven development, the government is shrinking the rights of farmers and tribal communities while environmental degradation is at its peak.This year’s performance leaves enough to predict the next four years, and it looks worrisome.