India slips to ‘partly free’ status

The Freedom House, a US-based democracy research institute, in its recent report said the world’s largest democracy, India, is descending into authoritarianism. It cited communal riots, the use of sedition laws against critics and the migrants’ crisis as the reason for India declining to “partly free” status. Even though the government of India dismissed the report and termed it misleading, incorrect and misplaced, there is some truth in it. Ever since the BJP under the leadership of Narendra Modi took over the reins of the nation in 2014, there has been growing intolerance in the country.

The intimidation of academics and journalists and the crackdown on expressions of dissent by the media have grown. The freedom of expression guaranteed under Article 19 is facing a big threat. The minorities have been facing atrocities. Incidents of mob lynching have grown. Attempts are being made to impose one culture, one religion and one language in the country. This is totally against the founding principles of India. The founders of this great nation established India as a secular democracy. But things have changed in the recent past. It seems finally the international community too is noticing the trend. The report of the Freedom House is an eye opener and hopefully the international community will take note of it. Efforts have to put in to ensure that India does not further slip and fully transcend into dictatorship. The international community will have to come to the aid of those being suppressed at the hands of the present regressive regime.