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Modi’s crit­ics have a pre­car­i­ous life in In­dia

22 156 86
30.06.2022

On June 16, the Supreme Court of India cautioned the Uttar Pradesh (UP) state government against taking punitive actions targeting those who participated in protests over Islamophobic comments made by two Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders. Specifically, the country’s highest court was referring to the demolition of the homes of Muslim activists. Local authorities claimed that these homes were built illegally. However, others insist that the state government, led by hardline Hindu nationalist chief minister Yogi Adityanath, is running a retaliatory campaign against its critics.

One of the homes that were demolished belonged to the leader of the Welfare Party of India, Javed Mohammed, who had earlier been arrested and charged with being the “mastermind” behind the protests. Mohammed and his daughter, Afreen Fatima, are prominent activists, known for organising against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) of 2019, which grants fast-track citizenship to non-Muslim undocumented immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.

Protests against the Act were met with a brutal crackdown as right-wing mobs, led by BJP leaders, rampaged through Delhi, targeting protesters, while police arrested anti-CAA activists and charged them under India’s stringent “anti-terror” law.

Analysts like Angshuman Choudhury of the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi were quick to point out that these home demolitions “bear [a] striking resemblance to Israel’s tactics against Palestinians”. As in Palestine, such measures are meant to introduce a sense of precarity into the lives of Modi’s critics. In India, they are the latest indicator that it is becoming increasingly hazardous to oppose the BJP.

Throughout Modi’s tenure, a variety of tactics have been used to target his critics. In 2021, it was revealed that the Pegasus spyware, developed by the Israeli cyber-arms company NSO, had been used to snoop on journalists, opposition politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers, academics, and activists. A prominent target of the spyware was lawyer and trade unionist Sudha Bharadwaj, who........

© Al Jazeera


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