Showing posts with label BJP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label BJP. Show all posts

Thursday, April 16, 2020

What Could Work In India

Shutting the entire country down at once was an excellent decision grounded in science and economic realities, the least expensive decision, but an incomplete decision. Not shutting down was clearly not an option.

Testing is not an option in India. The large scale testing required to reopen the country simply is not on the table right now, or even in the near term.

The first priority has to be to feed people, now that they are in their homes. The entire development budget is frozen anyways. Redirect as much of that as necessary to feed people. Reward them for staying home by delivering food to their homes.

Three weeks are enough time for the infected to get symptomatic. Anyone with cold and cough is not necessarily infected but will have to be assumed so for now. They should be encouraged to self-identify and isolate themselves further inside their homes. If there is a third symptom -- fever -- that self-isolation should be more strictly enforced. But if the three symptoms are persistent and the fourth symptom -- shortness of breath -- also shows up, chances are the fifth and the sixth also will: loss of the sense of taste and major pain. That is guaranteed infection. The government must by then have erected tent hospitals in every village. Commandeer factories to manufacture tents at a rapid clip, not necessarily ventilators. The New York story has been 80% of those who end up on the ventilator never come back. They don't make it.

Inhaling steam and drinking hot water seems to work in many early-stage cases. At the cold and cough stages that should be encouraged through mass education campaigns.

Modi and Imran should hold an emergency video summit and call a complete ceasefire and truce and agree to recognize the LOC (Line Of Control) as the permanent border now and until further notice and take their armies away from the border and into their villages: to direct distribute food, to erect tent hospitals, to maintain law and order. These, as well as other first responders and health care workers, should be the first in line for testing. Should you end up infected while serving, you should be isolated immediately.

Lady police officers should be deployed to reach out to domestic abuse and domestic violence victims. Tent shelters should be erected for those in need.

Hopefully, by then India will have figured out a way to implement large scale testing to gradually reopen the economy. It is okay if that is a few months away. In the meantime, keep people in their homes and keep feeding them.

This is the least expensive option. Carried out well, when the economy reopens, there should be a V-shaped recovery. India might even see double digit growth rates in the rebound. Otherwise more people will die in this pandemic than if there were nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Pogrom In Delhi

The message from the BJP is clear: Elect whomever you like. We are still in power. Call the police; they work for us. Appeal to the courts; we’ll neutralize any judges who don’t toe our line. Continue to dissent, and we will set the mob on you.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Modi's Bad Economic Performance

Indian Prime Minister Modi's Lawless Reign of Terror Narendra Modi relies on private militants allied with his party to crack down on dissent. ...... recent events suggest that the real Gujarat Model that Modi had in mind was something else entirely: a government that looks the other way as private militants violently attack disfavored groups. ...... the growing youth resistance against his "papers, please" citizenship law. ...... On Sunday evening, January 5, 40 to 50 hoodlums, mostly men but also a few women, faces partially wrapped in scarfs, armed with clubs, iron rods, and sledgehammers, stormed the campus. Eyewitness accounts and video footage suggest that several of these people were members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student union associated with Modi's party. They approached a group of students protesting a sudden, massive fee hike and began thrashing them. They bloodied the student president, Aishe Ghosh, and many others.......... Then, chanting that the students were traitors who deserve to be shot for opposing the administration, the attackers barged into dorm rooms and went on a rampage, taking care to spare rooms that sported ABVP posters. Muslim students were of course fair game. And so was a blind Hindu student, a Sanskrit scholar and a student of Hinduism no less, whose wall sported a picture of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, India's reformist founding father. (Ambedkar has fallen from grace in pro-Modi circles because he was a vigorous opponent of the caste system and other regressive Hindu practices and because his ideas are fueling the constitutional case against Modi's Hindu nationalism.) ....... JNU's vice-chancellor, who is appointed by the central government, failed to mobilize campus security to stop the mayhem. The Delhi police, which is under the command of the Modi government rather than local authorities, ignored the frantic calls of students for over an hour. A veritable battalion of cops was standing right outside the campus gates, but not a single one went in to stop the attack. The cops even stood by as ambulances were vandalized right in front of them. ......... law enforcement standing by as private militants allied with the ruling party go on a violent spree, criminalizing the victims, spreading disinformation to confuse the public—was Modi's modus operandi in Gujarat. .......... A few weeks ago, cops appeared to vandalize Jamia Millia University, a Muslim institution in New Delhi. Modi's comrade, Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, went even further. His police showed up at Aligarh Muslim University and roughed up students protesting Modi's faith-cleansing policies that would strip an untold number of Indian Muslims of citizenship. ........... no one outside of Modi's band of merry brothers is safe in India anymore. All of India is Gujarat now. Dissent is out. Violence is in........ As one poster at a protest noted: "First AMU. Then JNU. Next You."

PM Modi, Amit Shah misled people on CAA, NRC: Sonia Gandhi The nation has watched in horror at the "BJP-orchestrated assault" on JNU after what happened in Jamia, BHU, Allahabad university and AMU

'Challenge PM To Tell Students Why Economy A Basket Case': Rahul Gandhi Congress MP Rahul Gandhi today said he challenges Prime Minister Narendra Modi to go to universities and tell students what he will do to improve the economy. ....... in a blow to opposition unity, six key parties - including the Trinamool Congress, BSP, Shiv Sena, DMK and the Samajwadi Party - are skipping the meet. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party said it was not even invited for the meeting.

What Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Said About Amended Citizenship Law Satya Nadella's comment was backed by noted historian Ramachandra Guha, who wished that big names in the Indian IT industry would summon the "courage" to make a similar statement. ....... "I think what is happening is sad... It's just bad....

I would love to see a Bangladeshi immigrant who comes to India and creates the next unicorn in India

or becomes the next CEO of Infosys" ....... A group of over 150 Indian-origin professionals employed with tech giants such as Google, Uber, Amazon and Facebook had earlier written an open letter against the Citizenship Amendment Act and a possible nationwide National Register of Citizens, dubbing both the initiatives as "fascist". ........ "The CAA 2019 combined with the NRC is a deeply anti-Muslim scheme that will create greater statelessness and global disparity for Muslims, growing worse with India's economic decline and climate change" ...... The United Nations Human Rights Office has also termed the amended law as "fundamentally discriminatory", saying that it "undermines" the commitment to equality enshrined in the Indian constitution....... BJP MP Tejasvi Surya has clamed that only "illiterates and puncture-wallahs" are opposed to the amended Citizenship Act.

The attacks on two Delhi universities reveal Modi’s targets: Muslims and their allies the police remained decorously outside the gates of

Jawaharlal Nehru University, India’s most well known, cordoning off the campus as masked goons armed with iron rods and improvised bludgeons ran riot inside.

They broke into a hostel reserved for women students, inflicted head injuries on the president of JNU’s student union, who is a woman, and attacked faculty members who tried to protect them. Some 20 students and teachers were hospitalised. After three hours of thuggery the police entered the university at the vice-chancellor’s belated invitation but made no arrests because the criminals had mysteriously slipped away despite the police cordon. ....... Jamia and JNU are centrally funded universities that have attracted the violent displeasure of Modi’s government for different but related reasons. Taken together, these reasons define the ruling Bharatiya Janata party’s majoritarian project – its reason for being. ......... The NRC is the citizenship act’s evil twin; those who aren’t able to document their claim to being Indian before the tribunals of the NRC will be cast into limbo – but non-Muslims among them can hope to be rescued by the CAA’s amnesty. ...... Jamia was brazenly attacked by the police of this would-be Hindu nation because the government was confident that making a violent example of a Muslim university would play well in public. ........ the assault galvanised Muslims all over the country into spontaneous and sustained resistance to the CAA and NRC ...... the police atrocities in Jamia led to huge demonstrations of solidarity in colleges and universities all over India and sparked a fire of resistance, against the furtive bigotry of the CAA, which continues to burn. .......... The BJP has long believed that its anti-Muslim project has two enemies: Muslims, and those non-Muslims who see Muslims as equal citizens under the constitution. The Delhi police made an example of Jamia as a warning to India’s Muslims. When that didn’t go according to plan, the same police travelled several miles across the city to help make an example of a university that the BJP sees as the institutional incarnation of the secularism that might yet thwart its dreams of a Hindu nation. Since majoritarian parties are constitutionally incapable of empathy, the BJP understands JNU’s brand of secular solidarity as a form of Hindu self-hatred. ......... the BJP’s loathing of the university is obsessive and wildly out of proportion to the threat that its students and teachers pose.

Is the Indian economy headed for a middle-income trap? Once promising economies like Mexico, Brazil, or Turkey could never attain the prosperity of western Europe or Japan, because they fell into what experts call the “middle-income trap.” ....... a sustained economic slowdown following a period of strong growth. ...... “We will be a Brazil, we will be a South Africa” but will never replicate the growth trajectories of China, or South Korea ....... “No country which has been in (a middle-income trap) has been able to come out of it.” ......

India’s economy is facing a structural slowdown.

....... India won’t even become an upper middle-income country (per capita income between $3,896-12,055) by the 2030s ......

Escaping the middle-income trap requires serious reforms such as flexible land and labour laws. The Narendra Modi government, on the other hand, is obsessed with furthering its political agenda

....... The economic reforms that India unleashed in 1991 led to a period of strong growth lifting millions out of poverty and increasing the size of the economy by almost nine times in about 30 years. ....... there was no mass shift from farm to factories. India failed to create a robust manufacturing sector, which today accounts for less than 17% of the economic output. ........ forcing a staggering 81% of the workforce to be employed in the informal sector. ....... The manufacturing sector, though, is most important because it is labour-intensive. ...... implementing

land and labour reforms

to bring capital costs down...... the primary fixes that would ensure India does not fall into the middle-income trap. ....... India’s declining investment rates, high levels of capital concentration in the corporate sector, and lack of good infrastructure access are deeply concerning indicators. ......... long-term structural reforms and provision of better social security to people ...... unequal income distribution is another key driver of the middle-income trap and suggests higher investments in human capital to escape it. ........ India at a lowly 115th out of 157 countries in its Global Human Capital Index rankings ..... “No country has moved to high-income category without taking care of these bottlenecks.”

After years of falling, poverty in India may have risen again since GST and demonetisation Poverty and malnutrition in India may have increased substantially in 2017-18, leading to a fall in consumer spending in the country for the first time in over four decades. ...... The fall in overall consumption (by 3.7%) in 2017-18 is the first since the 1972-73 global oil crisis ........ “In the last five decades at least, there has never been a period that consumption expenditure in real terms has declined. This data clearly shows that poverty levels would have gone up substantially. A back of the envelope calculation would suggest that the percentage of population in poverty would have gone up by at least 10 percentage points.” ........ In 2011-12, the share of India’s population living below the poverty line stood at 22%, much lower than the 30% recorded two years earlier, and 37% recorded in 2004-05 ...... NSO’s current findings suggest these gains may have been nearly offset by 2017-18. ........ consumers were penny-pinching on not only clothing, education, and rent but even food. ....... Rural consumers spent an average of Rs580 ($8) per month on food in 2017-18, down 10% from Rs643 in 2011-12. Urban consumers, on the other hand, spent Rs946 on average on food, nearly the same (Rs943) as in 2011-12. ........ The country’s GDP growth stood at a six-year low of 5% in April-June 2019. ......

these wounds may have been self-inflicted. The survey was conducted between July 2017 and June 2018, coinciding with the rollout of the goods and services tax (GST) and came a few months after demonetisation.

........ In 2017-18, India’s unemployment rate stood at a 45-year high of 6.1%

India’s economic slump is far too deep to be tackled with mere tinkering of interest rates
Modi inherits a troubled economy—all credit goes to him

India Has Worst Economy In 42 Years. Is Prime Minister Modi Watching?

The only real debate about India’s economy is exactly when things were as bad as they are in 2020.

...... Modi rose to power in 2014 promising to supersize the “Gujarat model” that brought him to national prominence. His 14 years running that western state morphed Modi into a folk hero. On his watch, Gujarat often produced growth faster than the national average, fewer regulations, better infrastructure and less corruption. Voters elected Modi to bring those policies to New Delhi. ....... The populist did put some wins on the scoreboard. Modi announced plans to cut bureaucracy and opened sectors like aviation, defense and insurance to increased foreign investment. Passing a national goods-and-services tax was no small feat. Then Modi largely rested on his laurels, shelving deeper reforms amid healthy global growth. ....... India would be growing faster if Modi had acted more boldly to upend vested interests. Modi, for example, punted on the truly epochal reforms India needs to compete and become more inclusive: changes to laws on labor, land and taxation. The government slow-walked efforts to clean up a banking system awash in bad loans. ....... Then there are the self-inflicted wounds. A poorly executed move to take all high-denomination banknotes from circulation to attack graft shoulder-checked the economy. A botched GST rollout confused corporate chieftains and actually depressed tax revenues. ........ Modi the populist rabble-rouser will dominate his second term, not the economic change agent most voters wanted. ....... Will that support be there, though, if Modi’s distraction delivers a “Hindu rate of growth” instead? The reference here is to the low annual growth rates India produced prior to a liberalization push in 1991. .......

India isn’t where Modi boosters thought it would be in 2020.

..... the political equivalent of human nature: it’s always easier to add liquidity than remove barriers to growth and efficiency. Look no further than the Philippines and South Korea these days. Yet all that largess takes the onus off India’s banks, particularly state-owned ones, to write down distressed assets.

Modi's Self-Destructive Behavior

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Modi's Self-Destructive Behavior

Modi traveled the world. It felt like he was always on a plane to somewhere. When he landed in Delhi, it was for a few days of rest before he took off again. He held monstrous rallies of Indians around the world. Donald Trump never held a bigger rally inside the United States. And all that exposure added to India's soft power. Modi became the most popular politician in the world. After long decades India again had one party that could get a majority in the parliament on its own. Ideology aside, that means some stability. He even took action on Ease Of Doing Business, and India rose up in the ranks. FDI was on the uptick.

I have tried very hard to see the good in Modi. His rise from his humble background to the top office in India is noteworthy. I bought into what I thought was his laser focus on development issues when he ran in 2014. I do think he is personally incorruptible. But then that was also true of his predecessor, Dr. Manmohan Singh. Singh was never accused of having taken any bribes. Personally, he was not. His cabinet was another story. In Modi's case, he seems to have an iron grip on his cabinet, and the anti-corruption aura extends beyond him.

The jury is still out on demonetization. And the implementation of the GST (Goods and Services Tax) has seen much criticism. Done right, that was supposed to unify the Indian market. I don't have enough data on what actually happened.

Even before he made his Kashmir move, I am on record at this very blog saying the key to peace between India and Pakistan is to have two Kashmirs, just like there are two Punjabs. There is a Punjab in India. There is a Punjab in Pakistan. Turn the Line Of Control (LOC) into the permanent border and open up trade. So, obviously, I am not opposed to the idea of turning Kashmir into just another state in India. But I say, what a lost opportunity. If this move would have been made after summit meetings between Imran Khan and Narendra Modi, the region would have seen peace instead of the turmoil we are now seeing.

Article 370 I don't want to comment on too much. What did bother me a lot was that Kashmir was turned into an open-air prison in the aftermath. I was in disbelief.

And now this. India is convulsing. The country has been shaken to its roots. The citizenship amendment act is poorly worded, harshly implemented. And the entire world is watching. All the soft power Modi earned for India through his years of travels has evaporated, and it will show in the FDI numbers. And the tanking economy is not helping either. Modi has already had a very bad year politically. He has lost state after state. He lost Maharashtra where he lost his biggest and oldest ally, the Shiv Sena. I think that is what he is looking at in 2024. The non-BJP parties will come together to throw up a non-Congress prime minister.

Just like Kashmir done right would have given South Asia lasting peace and a major regional trade boost, granting citizenship to refugees is how a large, generous democracy enhances its soft power around the world. How about starting with the Rohingya! They just might be the most talked-about refugees in the world right now.

Modi and his team have been proving his critics right. Imran Khan has been shouting like a mad man accusing the BJP and the RSS of 1930s style fascism. And to Imran Modi gives the citizenship amendment act and the national registry of citizens. That is straight from the Nazi party book in the 1930s. The Nazis also sought to "protect" German minorities in neighboring countries. They also put together a "national registry of citizens."

Modi has squandered his impressive electoral mandate. It is all downhill from here for Modi, especially since there seems to be no hint of course correction.

I hope Prashant Kishor is the next Prime Minister of India.

The ABC (Anti BJP Coalition) already has 62% of the votes in the country, it just needs a proper organizational structure. By joining the coalition, a party agrees to one post one candidate at all levels, and it agrees to the decisions of a steering committee in which each party's strength is the number of MPs it has. There is no lack of money, there is no lack of votes, there is no lack of vision, there is no lack of strategy. Only this structure is missing. Sonia Gandhi can be Convenor.

India: Democracy Itself Is At Stake
India At A Turning Point
Arundhati Roy On India
Indian Citizenship Bill Protests: The Distrust Is Wide And Deep
India Citizenship Bill Debate (2)
India Citizenship Bill Debate
Biometric ID And Citizenship Solutions
India's Contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill
Has India Gone Crazy?
Step By Step To Solving The Big Problems
History In Fast Forward Motion Right Now
Kashmir Deserves Normalcy
News: Modi, Trump, Andrew Yang, Iran, Kamala Harris
Indian Democracy: Maharashtra Edition
India's Massive Unemployment Problem: China Actually Knows
Formula For Peace Between Israel And Palestine
The Stupidity Of The Ayodhya Dispute
Saudi-Iran: Imran Is The Only One Who Can
Can't Stop Water To Pakistan
New Capitalism Is Techno Capitalism, Hello Marc
The Nation State In Peril
Imran's Peace Gamble In Afghanistan
South Asians Working In The Gulf

I think something like this is possible for 2024.

2024: Possible Lok Sabha Composition

BJP: 150

Anti-BJP Coalition (ABC):
Congress: 60
JD (U): 50 (25 in Bihar, 25 outside Bihar)
Trianmool Congress: 40
Shiv Sena: 20
LJP (Paswan): 6
RJD: 10
DMK: 15
YSR Congress: 20
BJD: 20
BSP: 30
SP: 30
NCP: 10
CPI (M): 10
TRS: 10
TDP: 5
AAP: 4
Total: 360
Others: 33

Wednesday, January 08, 2020

India: Democracy Itself Is At Stake

Narendra Modi is going to pay a big price for having misread his electoral mandate, which has been substantial. The mandate was for double-digit growth rates, it was for a five trillion dollar economy. It might even have been to stand up to Pakistan. But instead what the people have gotten is a tanking economy and an erosion of democracy. Democracy is not majority rule. Democracy is not elections. Democracy is respect for human rights and the rule of law.

When Kashmir was turned into an open-air prison, a lot of Indians celebrated, many stayed num. It might be okay to turn Kashmir into just another state in India, but then why would that not have applied to the states in the northeast? One might ask. But it has been utterly wrong to turn an entire state into an open-air prison. The fears of the protestors are not ill-founded. Police brutality unleashed upon primarily Muslim neighborhoods and institutions show where this thing is headed. The Indian Prime Minister, the Indian Home Minister, and the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, at this rate all of them will be shown the door.

What is happening is happening in broad daylight, with full media coverage, with instantaneous global communication. There is nowhere to hide. This is fascism, plain and simple. India is seeing the largest protests in decades. This is Modi's undeclared emergency. The PMO has gone to hell. Extreme concentration of power is giving undesirable results.

This is an excellent opportunity for all non-BJP parties to come together. What they need is a proper organizational structure. They should form a federation of sorts. A vague alliance will not do. The structure should be strong enough that it has to give one post one candidate at all levels and across India. The BJP dominoes have been falling for a year now. That trend will continue.

When atrocities are committed in China, they try to hide it all. In India, you have nowhere to hide. If the bet is that the people at large will support the atrocities, that bet is misguided and wrong at the same time.

This is a tragedy because Modi had an excellent chance to take India to double-digit growth rates. A lot of people have had to give Modi the benefit of doubt over the years. There have been serious accusations against him before. But when he presented himself as a man committed to economic development, many believed him and gave him a chance. He does have a remarkable story. India is not known as a country where a chaiwallah (tea seller) can become Prime Minister. But chaiwallah or no chaiwallah, the fundamentals of democracy are not up for grabs. Modi and his party could get 60% of the votes, and they still would not have the option to do away with democracy. They are not even at 40%.

They should coin a new formation, an ABC, Anti BJP Coalition. The steering committee ought to have a proper structure. By joining the coalition, a party is agreeing to one office one candidate at all levels. In the steering committee, each party should have the same number of votes as it has MPs, and decisions should be taken by preferably consensus, if not then with a large majority of 65%, and in rare cases with majority vote. These two fundamentals would be enough to deliver the goodies. The people are already up in arms. They are ready to vote to teach the BJP a lesson.

हिन्दु धर्म के किस ग्रन्थ के किस लाइन के आधार पर आप देश पर फासिज्म लादने की सोंच रहे हो? ये तो आप दुर्योधन के रास्ते पर चल पड़े। अन्याय और अत्याचार तो दुर्योधनका रास्ता है। क्या हिन्दु धर्म में दुर्योधन की पुजा होती है?

'We are not safe': India's Muslims tell of wave of police brutality How hundreds of innocent Muslim residents of the city of Muzaffarnagar came to be rounded up on 20 December, before being tortured in police detention, is part of what Indian activist and academic Yogendra Yadav described as an unprecedented and ruthless “reign of terror” imposed upon the country’s most populous state over the past two weeks. .......

Since last month, India has been engulfed in the biggest nationwide protests in over four decades.

People of all religions, classes, castes and ages took to the streets in opposition to a new citizenship amendment act (CAA) passed by the prime minister, Narendra Modi, and his Hindu nationalist BJP government, which many say discriminates against Muslims and undermines India’s secular foundations. The government has dealt with the dissent with increasing repression, with authorities banning gatherings of more than four people and demonstrators met with batons and tear gas. .......... Nowhere has the crackdown been so brutal and so openly communal against the Muslim community than in Uttar Pradesh. According to accounts given to the Guardian by dozens of victims, witnesses and activists, police in the state stand accused of a string of allegations: firing indiscriminately into crowds; beating Muslim bystanders in the streets; raiding and looting Muslim homes while shouting Islamophobic slurs and Hindu nationalist slogans; detaining and torturing Muslim children. The allegations further include forcing signed confessions and filing bogus criminal charges against thousands of Muslims who had never been to a protest. ....... Hundreds of Muslims and activists remain behind bars across Uttar Pradesh and thousands have been placed on police lists. And the orders, it appears, come from the very top......... BJP state chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, a militant Hindu nationalist notorious for his open hatred and persecution of Muslims, pledged to take revenge on protesters in the wake of the unrest. The police took him at his word. “It was kristallnacht for Muslims,” said activist Kavita Krishnan, describing the events that unfolded across the state on Friday 20 and Saturday 21 December.......Nearby, maulana Asad Raza Hussaini, a respected Muslim cleric, and his students at Sadaat Madrasa, an Islamic seminary, were resting after afternoon prayers when about 50 police officers, bearing batons and iron rods, broke down the doors and burst in. They were allegedly looking for people who had taken part in the protest but upon entering the madrasa began violently smashing everything in their pathway. ....... “The maulana told the policemen gently that none from the seminary took part in any protest rally and pleaded for them not to vandalise the Qur’an centre in the madrasa,” said a neighbour who witnessed the police attack but did not want to be identified for fear of reprisal. “It was then that the policemen and Rapid Action Force personnel [a branch of the police that deals with crowd control] pounced on him.” ....... The police then rounded up Hussaini and 35 of his students, 15 of whom were under 18 and mostly orphans, and took them to a nearby police barracks. Here the cleric was, witnesses allege, stripped of his clothes, beaten and a rod shoved up his anus, causing rectal bleeding, while the students were allegedly tortured with bamboo rods and made to shout Hindu nationalist slogans Jai Shri Ram” [Hail Lord Ram] and “Har Har Mahadev” [Save us Lord Shiva]......... “The maulana had been beaten up very badly and was left without a single cloth on his body and when he was released we found him in very bad shape,” said Salman Saeed, a local Congress leader who came to pick up Hussaini and several students from Civil Lines Barracks. “He was badly wounded and bloodied, with many bruises across his body. He could not stand up on his legs and was bare-bodied. We were shocked to see the maulana in that condition. He is bed-ridden now.”........ While Hussaini and all his underage students were released at 2am that night, 12 adults students and the madrasa cook remain behind bars and have been charged with taking part in violence, despite never partaking in a protest. ...... “The police said to me, ‘if you tell us the names of 100 Muslims involved in the riots we will stop beating you’,” recounted Sadiq, as he lay bed-bound and weak from his injuries in his one-room family shack. “I kept telling them I had nothing to do with the riots, that I did not know anything but they kept beating me. The policemen told me to shout ‘Jai Sri Ram’ and I told them I would not so they put an iron rod into the flames of the car that was on fire and then held it against my hands to burn me.” ......... “Then some of the police officers tried to pick me up and put me in the flames of the car on fire,” Sadiq said, “but two of them said ‘no, let’s just take him to the police station’.” ........ Sadiq was kept in police detention for the next four days. Stripped to his underwear, he said he was tortured. For two days he was given no food or water and no medical treatment for his badly bleeding wounds. When he was finally released his condition was so bad his mother, Rehana Begum, fainted when she came to collect him........ According to multiple accounts, in the late-night raids on Muslim homes carried out in Muzaffarnagar and across the state over those two days, women, children and the elderly were not spared the brunt of the police brutality. ........ One such victim was 73-year-old Hamid Hasan, who was viciously beaten when police stormed into his house late on 20 December, using metal batons to attack him, his 65-year-old wife and his 22-year-old granddaughter, Ruqaiya Parveen, who was hit so hard across the head she collapsed from the wound and had to have 16 stitches. ......... Hasan wiped away tears as he showed the wrecked remnants of the wedding gifts purchased for his granddaughter’s forthcoming marriage, including a destroyed television, ripped sofa, overturned fridge and smashed air-conditioning unit he had saved up his whole life to buy. “My family did not take part in any protests, why would they do this to us,” wailed Hasan, who could barely walk from his injuries. “Muslims in this country are being made to live in fear, even in our homes we are not safe from violence now.” ....... Hasan’s 14-year-old grandson Mohammad Ahmad was also dragged from his bed by the officers, beaten in the street and then detained and allegedly tortured by police in the police barracks, along with Hasan’s son Mohammad Sajid, 40. Ahmad recounted how he witnessed officers force his uncle Sajid to sign a confession that a gun and bullets had been found in the police raid on their home. “He did not want to sign it but he had to because we were terrified,” whispered Ahmad softly, his legs still wrapped in bandages from the beatings. ........

Official figures put the protest death toll in the state at 17. All were Muslim and the youngest was eight.

...... Not only did the police force the family to bury Noor 60km (40 miles) away from Muzaffarnagar, but they accompanied the body to the ground, prevented proper funeral rites being carried out and then confiscated the burial certificate from the family. “It is clear they want to destroy all evidence about his death,” said his brother-in-law Mohammad Salim. .........

“Every rioter is thinking they made a big mistake by challenging Yogi ji’s government after seeing strict actions taken by it against rioters,” said the chief minister’s office in a recent series of twitter posts. “Every rioter is shocked. Every demonstrator is stunned. Everyone has been silenced.”

India: largest protests in decades signal Modi may have gone too far Demonstrations against citizenship act continue despite ban, uniting people of all ages, castes and religions ...... “They are denying us our basic right to protest, so how can we still call India a democracy?” said Khan. “Modi has underestimated the Indian people if he thinks he can tear apart our constitution and try to divide us all down religious lines with this citizenship act. We stand here today united as Indians, Muslim brothers with Hindu brothers, and we will stay out here on these streets until the citizenship act is revoked and Modi is on his knees.” ........ in Bangalore police did not have enough buses to transport all those they had arrested. Police jails began to overflow. ....... “It’s the sign of a paranoid, insecure regime who can not deal with dissent in any way,” Guha said after he was released from detention. “We’ve had difficult times in our republic but this is one of the worst I’ve seen in my 60-year lifetime.” ....... “This is how Modi ran Gujurat, with a completely iron fist,” said Guha. “They manipulated universities, they intimidated the media, threatened the judiciary – and they think they can extend that to all of India. This regime hates Muslims and now, more clearly than ever, it is exposed for what it is: authoritarian and sectarian and spectacularly bigoted.” ......... after Modi’s re-election in May, when he won a huge parliamentary majority, the agenda picked up the pace. ......

The brazenness of the citizenship law has galvanised the masses in opposition in a way that public lynchings of Muslims, low-level sectarian violence and the Kashmir decision all failed to do.

...... “This citizenship legislation is at the core of their Hindu nationalist project, where the relegation of Muslims to second-class citizens is fundamental,” said Niraja Gopal Jayal, a professor at the Centre for the Study of Law and Governance, at India’s Jawaharlal Nehru University. ....... “In Modi’s first term you saw it gradually through the fostering of an ecosystem that was hostile to Muslims, where for example those who carried out

vigilante lynchings of Muslims

could act with complete impunity.......... there is this sense that they are on a roll and can accomplish whatever they want. ...... “So this legislation, where Muslims will be lucky if they are counted second-class citizens and not just thrown in a detention centre, is an inevitable culmination of that project. But judging by the protests, it is also possible that this time they have gone too far and never anticipated this kind of response.” ........ the demonstrations were part of “a battle for democracy, a battle for civil liberties, a battle for secularism and the plural character of Indian society.” ........

For one of the first times since Modi came to power, his slick social media and spin operation has failed to shift the narrative in his favour.

The diverse makeup of participants in the protests means Modi’s attempts to dismiss them as self-loathing liberals and hopeless cosmopolitans have been met with derision. ......... “What we are living in now is already a kind of undeclared emergency, where in effect in many parts of India democracy has effectively been suspended by Modi’s government,” Komireddi said...... “In 2014 India was the first democratic country to succumb to this wave of populism,” he said, “and now India will be the first country that will show the way to reclaim democracy from the clutches of these thugs.”