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‘BJP and PM Modi endangered India’s Democracy’: The Economist over CAA protest

The research and analysis division of ‘The Economist Group’ has attributed the drop to “democratic regression (in) erosion of civil liberties”.

New Delhi: Days after lowering India’s rank by 10 places in the Democracy Index, The Economist has now dedicated its latest cover to India titled, “Intolerant India”. The magazine has criticized the Narendra Modi government over the new citizenship law and the National Register of Citizens, commenting that it “imperils the inspiring idea of India as the world’s largest democracy”.

The Economist tweeted the cover on January 23 and wrote: “How India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his party are endangering the world’s biggest democracy.”

The article title “Narendra Modi stokes divisions in the world’s biggest democracy” says India’s 200 million Muslims fear the Prime Minister is building a Hindu state. The article goes on to describe the birth and rise of the BJP through the Ram temple movement in the 1980s. It argues that “Modi and the BJP are likely to benefit politically by creating divisions over religion and national identity”.

“Government’s plan to compile a register of genuine Indians as part of a hunt for foreign interlopers affects all 1.3 billion people in India. For many years it could drag, inflaming passions over and over again, as the list is compiled, challenged and revised,” the article says.

“Such topics also divert attention from awkward topics such as the economy, which has struggled since the BJP’s thumping election victory in 2019,” the article added.

The BJP’s Vijay Chauthaiwale took a jibe and called The Economist “arrogant”, with a “colonial mindset”.

Chauthaiwale said, “We thought the Brits had left India in 1947! But the editors of “The Economist” are still living in the colonial era. They are furious when 600m Indians do not follow their explicit order of not voting PM Modi.”

The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index for 2019 has ranked India 51 among 165 nations and two territories, with its lowest ever score of 6.9 out of 10. The research and analysis division of The Economist Group has attributed the drop to “democratic regression (in) erosion of civil liberties”.

Recently the EIU report mentioned the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, which makes religion a test of citizenship for the first time in India’s history, and the NRC.

The CAA provides for citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan if they fled religious persecution and entered India before 2015. Many critics believe the law, along with the NRC, will be targeting Muslims.

The EIU report said in its observations on India, “The passage by Parliament in December of the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act suggests India’s decline will continue in the 2020 index,”.

The report also referred to the situation in Jammu and Kashmir after the Central government in 2019 revoked its special status under Article 370 of the constitution.

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