Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

News & Supplemental  

Modi Government Ramps Up Repression

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained HERE. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by the fall of of 2017. WFMU-FM is pod­cast­ing For The Record–You can sub­scribe to the pod­cast HERE.

You can sub­scribe to e‑mail alerts from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can sub­scribe to RSS feed from Spitfirelist.com HERE.

You can sub­scribe to the com­ments made on pro­grams and posts–an excel­lent source of infor­ma­tion in, and of, itself HERE.

COMMENT: In numer­ous pro­grams (most recent­ly FTR #‘s 988 and 989) we have cov­ered the Hin­dut­va fas­cist RSS and its polit­i­cal cat’s paw the BJP. Indi­an Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi is real­iz­ing the repres­sive fas­cist agen­da of the BJP/RSS.

“The Ques­tion More Indi­ans Ask–‘Is My Phone Tapped?’” by Mira Kam­dar; The New York Times; 10/27/2017; p. A22 [West Coast Edi­tion]

A busi­ness­man told me he had stopped going online to buy books that the gov­ern­ment might frown upon because he was afraid offi­cials would track his pur­chas­es.

There’s good rea­son for such fears, anoth­er busi­ness­man said: “You go to a par­ty where there are a dozen peo­ple you’ve known for years. Some­one says some­thing mild­ly crit­i­cal of the gov­ern­ment, and then you learn that per­son­’s office was paid a vis­it the next day by the income-tax author­i­ties.”

These were not reflec­tions on life in some police state. These were con­ver­sa­tions I had this month dur­ing a vis­it to India, a coun­try I’ve been vis­it­ing for near­ly 60 years.

It’s no secret that attacks on free­dom of expres­sion have accel­er­at­ed since the elec­tion of Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi in May 2014. Yet, noth­ing pre­pared me for the per­va­sive anx­i­eties I encoun­tered on this trip. While free­dom of speech has nev­er been an absolute right in India, I always thought that this rau­cous democ­ra­cy would ulti­mate­ly over­come any blan­ket effort to quash dis­sent, as it did when Prime Min­is­ter Indi­ra Gand­hi declared a state of emer­gency and clamped down on the news media in 1975.

But I was stunned when a well-known write in New Del­hi con­fid­ed that she and oth­ers used encrypt­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions. “We’re all on Pro­ton-Mail and Sig­nal at this point,” she said. Oth­ers said they only com­mu­ni­cat­ed on What­sApp. “All our phones are tapped,” declared a news edi­tor in Mum­bai.

As the com­ments from busi­ness­man indi­cate, the fears I heard weren’t lim­it­ed to jour­nal­ists and writ­ers dis­in­clined to sup­port Mr. Modi. Peo­ple who had appre­ci­at­ed the pro-busi­ness ele­ments of his can­di­da­cy, and who still have hope for his eco­nom­ic poli­cies expressed sim­i­lar con­cern.

Jour­nal­ists, though, have par­tic­u­lar rea­son for fear. In June, the Cen­tral Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion raid­ed res­i­dences and offices con­nect­ed to the founders of N.D.T.V., an influ­en­tial cable TV sta­tion and online news out­let that has had run-ins with Mr. Mod­i’s gov­ern­ment. The Edi­tors Guild of India and lead­ing media fig­ures con­demned the raid. But a mag­a­zine edi­tor con­fid­ed, “Of course we are afraid; they could go after any­one in our fam­i­ly, at any time.”

Even more dis­turb­ing have been a series of unsolved mur­ders of jour­nal­ists, and puni­tive legal actions against the news media.

The online news out­let The Wire was slapped with a crim­i­nal defama­tion suit after it pub­lished a sto­ry this month alleg­ing that Jay Shah, son of Amit Shah, the pow­er­ful head of Mr. Mod­i’s gov­ern­ing Bharatiya Jana­ta Par­ty, has prof­it­ed hand­some­ly under Mr. Mod­i’s gov­ern­ment. Then, last week, a court in Gujarat—where Mr. Modi was for­mer­ly chief minister—barred the news out­let from pub­lish­ing any sto­ries “direct­ly or indi­rect­ly” about jay Shah until the suit was resolved. Defi­ant, The Wire post­ed a pho­to of the order, vow­ing “It goes with­out say­ing that this attempt to gag The Wire will not go unchal­lenged.”

On Mon­day, the B.J.P.-led gov­ern­ment in Rajasthan State intro­duced an ordi­nance in the state’s Leg­isla­tive Assem­bly that would essen­tial­ly bar report­ing of gov­ern­ment malfea­sance by requir­ing gov­ern­ment per­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate “both serv­ing and for­mer judges, mag­is­trates and pub­lic ser­vants for on-duty actions.” It would also make it ille­gal to “print or pub­lish or pub­li­cize in any man­ner the name, address, pho­to­graph, fam­i­ly details or any oth­er par­tic­u­lars which may lead to dis­clo­sure of iden­ti­ty of a judge or mag­is­trate or a pub­lic ser­vant against whom” an inves­ti­ga­tion is pend­ing.

Not all the Indi­ans I spoke with were so uneasy. Many cit­i­zens remain out­spo­ken. Coura­geous jour­nal­ists con­tin­ue to fight to do their job. But the grow­ing fear of Indi­ans to speak, to write and even to read freely pos­es a grave threat to one of the world’s great democ­ra­cies.


No comments for “Modi Government Ramps Up Repression”

Post a comment