August 9, 2022

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India | Revenge on disturbing journalist?

India |  Revenge on disturbing journalist?

Indian police are stepping up pressure on a journalist who has caused an embarrassing international crisis for Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Posted at 6:00 am

Marc Thibodeau

Marc Thibodeau

Observers of Indian politics have condemned the action by security forces against Mohammad Zubair, who has been in detention since June 27, as retaliation from the top of the state.

“What he is accused of is absurd. BJP [Bharatiya Jamata Party] Can’t stand petty criticism,” New York-based author and journalist Salil Tripathi said in an interview, “Mr. Modi mentioned about training.

Photo by Saurabh Das, Associated Press Archives

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Indian Daily The Hindu Anyone who dares to criticize the repeated attacks on the country’s religious minorities goes in the same direction in a recent editorial, calling it a “new example of the regime’s intolerance” and its “contradiction”.

Against misinformation

Mr Zubair, one of the co-founders of Alt News, a site aimed at countering disinformation and hate propaganda efforts, was initially accused by New Delhi police of “insulting Hindu religious beliefs” over four years. – Old tweet.

He circulated a photograph taken from an Indian film shot 40 years ago in which an institution was renamed using Hanuman’s name.

Substitution, according to this, cannot be seen as an insult in any way The HinduAn anonymous internet user who filed a complaint from a Twitter account with practically no subscribers has sparked outrage.

The 39-year-old journalist was targeted by police in the country’s Uttar Pradesh state for a tweet attacking three Hindu nationalist leaders whom he accused of being “hate mongers”.

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In a Supreme Court hearing aimed at allowing him to temporarily regain his freedom, the journalist’s lawyer, Colin Gonsalves, argued last week that his arrest was a ‘new police tactic’ to silence critics.

“The aim is to limit the freedom of expression of secularist supporters who dare to oppose those promoting communitarianism and to intimidate them so that they no longer dare to protest,” he pleaded. problems.

Although the court granted the request, the journalist was kept in custody pending separate hearings in New Delhi.

The Alt News co-founder, who has half a million Twitter followers, created a scandal in late May when he widely echoed comments by BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma, who mocked the relationship between Muhammad and his younger brother on air. the wife

The scandal about Muhammad

Angry Muslim citizens protested against the spokesperson in Uttar Pradesh before the case took an international turn with the intervention of leaders of several Muslim countries demanding an apology from the BJP.

The spokesperson and another party spokesperson who broadcast her comments were eventually fired, sparking the fury of Hindu nationalists against Mr. Zubair.

Photo by Anushree Fadnavis, Reuters

Muslim demonstrators demanded the arrest of Nupur Sharma for her comments against Muhammad.

Tensions over the crisis contributed to a horrific attack in the state of Rajasthan in late June, where two Muslim men allegedly beheaded a Hindu businessman who had tweeted in support of Nupur Sharma.

A local official appealed to Narendra Modi to appeal for calm, stating that “tension is rising in small towns and the chasm between communities is widening”.

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Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in an online analysis last week that the Indian government downplays criticism of the “systemic discrimination” it promotes.

A step in the right direction

Now the situation has changed as India’s strategic partners are showing their irritation. She urged New Delhi to take more muscular action, not ironically activist, to end abuses, but to “silence critics capable of reaching an international audience”.

Mme Ganguly warned that countries cooperating with the Narendra Modi regime should ensure that they uphold their human rights commitments.

Germany has particularly intervened in this matter in the past few days, India prides itself on being the “largest democracy in the world” and should be sensitive to the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of the press in this regard.

Concerned that an increasing number of his Indian correspondents were choosing not to communicate with him except through encrypted applications for fear of reprisals, Tripathi felt that Prakhaplam should go further.

Foreign leaders, he said, “need to rethink whether it is still appropriate to call India a true democracy.”

Learn more

  • 66
    100 scores for India by Freedom House, an American organization that assesses political freedom and civil liberties