BY Cindy Martinez
India currently has one of the largest populations, with over 1.3 billion citizens. The country has over 900 million registered voters, making India the largest democracy. However, the Government is currently threatening the largest democracy put in place. Prime minister Narendra Modi and his party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are presently attacking civil liberties, media, and its citizens’ oppression. With many signs of democratic erosion, the people of India are not backing down.
The first couple signed back in August of 2019, where we see the arrest and incarceration of Palaniappan Chidambaram, the former minister of the opposition to the Indian National Congress, on bribery and corruption charges. Continues with the Indian Government using an Anti-terrorist law, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), Which allows the state to consider individuals as terrorists—thus oppressing anyone that opposes the Indian Government. This being one of the signs of an authoritarian regime being put in place. The oppression of individuals because of their views of the Government. This continues to the Government going after groups like University professors, activists, and politicians that oppose.
One of the other signs of Democratic erosion is the attack on freedom of expression, media,and academic freedom. With a limit of internet access and media, the Indian Government is currently cutting access to information and supplying it with propaganda.
Thus bringing us to the protest Anti- citizen act being put in motion by the Indian Government. It was beginning back in December 2019. The show marginalizes the Muslim minority in India by threatening its citizenship. The protest started the vital issue movements, including the act and India’s dangerous decline of democracy. The streets in major cities were flooded with protesters and activists. Thus continued into 2020, which was slowed because of COVID- 19. However, a new protest has sprung up, being called the farmer’s protest.
As the decline of civil liberties, media, and oppression by the Government of India continues, thousands of citizens worried about their country and their rights are protesting in the streets with everything to lose. Although India is currently going through democratic erosion, the citizens are not letting this happen.
Thank you for writing this insightful post! I was in India during the summer of 2019, and while I was in both Delhi and Jaipur, I saw protests going on against the Indian government. At the time I was unaware of what they were about, but now I can only assume it was related to democratic erosion going on. In regards to the citizenship act and discrimination against Indian Muslims, I am not hopeful that protests will do much to sway the government only because Muslims are such a minority in such a populous country. I think for change to happen it must come from within the government.
The BJP party in India is a Hindu nationalist party and has introduced many laws that contribute to democratic erosion. The citizenship act deliberately attacks the Muslim minority in the nation. As a secular nation, the Indian government has failed to protect the minority. Massive protests have not been successful and the change in the government needs to happen from the local level so it can reach the capital. As the largest democracy in the world, the Indian government has failed to protect the minority and uphold the constitution. Hopefully, the people will be able to have a better-elected government that protects their rights and hold them accountable in the future.