In a brazen attack on the press, income tax officials on Thursday raided the offices of two prominent media houses, Dainik Bhaskar and Bharat Samachar. The raids are being seen as an attempt to muzzle the voice of independent media. Dainik Bhaskar was at the forefront of reporting on the scale of devastation in the second wave of Covid in April-May.
The newspaper’s reports exposed the extent of the crisis, reflected in the bodies of Covid victims floating in the river Ganga and washing up on the banks of towns in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, or buried in shallow graves by the river. News channel Bharat Samachar was, in its reports on the Covid crisis, critical of the Yogi Adityanath-led BJP government.
This comes just days after a report emerged that the phone numbers of over 40 Indian journalists appear on a leaked list of potential targets for surveillance, and forensic tests have confirmed that some of them were successfully snooped upon by an unidentified agency using the Pegasus spyware. The present regime at the Centre seems to be allergic to any kind of criticism. In the last seven years, whoever has criticized the wrong policies of the government have been victimized using various central agencies. The misuse of the central agencies to terrorize independent voices, including media houses, is on the rise.
This kind of attempt to dismantle the democratic values of India should be opposed tooth and nail. It seems that the country has now entered into an era of undeclared emergency, which is more dangerous. It is time that every conscientious citizen who cares for democratic values strongly resisted the attempt of the BJP government at the Centre to impose an undeclared emergency in the country.