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US democracy watchdog relegates India’s standing from ‘free’ to ‘partly free’ nation in 2021 report – India News , Firstpost

The report painted an total grim image for the ideas of democracy the world over, however the alleged downturn in India’s democratic values meant that now solely 20 p.c of the world’s inhabitants lives in a liberal democracy

File photograph of Parliament constructing. PTI

At a time when the world witnessed the worst yr for democratic freedom within the midst of a pandemic, India additionally misplaced it is standing of a ‘free nation’ and was relegated to the ‘partly free’ class within the annual Freedom within the World rankings.

The 2021 rating was launched by Freedom House, a non-governmental organisation largely funded by way of US authorities grants. The organisation has been monitoring the course of democracy since 1941.

The annual report criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for driving India in the direction of authoritarianism whereas citing a “hamfisted lockdown”, “scapegoating of Muslims” and “rising intimidation of academics and Muslims” as among the causes for downgrading India’s standing.

“Political rights and civil liberties in the country have deteriorated since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014, with increased pressure on human rights organisations, rising intimidation of academics and journalists, and a spate of bigoted attacks, including lynchings, aimed at Muslims. The decline only accelerated after Modi’s reelection in 2019,” the report learn.

It additional criticised Modi for elevating Hindu nationalist pursuits at the price of equality.

“Under Modi, India appears to have abandoned its potential to serve as a global democratic leader, elevating narrow Hindu nationalist interests at the expense of its founding values of inclusion and equal rights for all.”

The report was additionally important of India’s dealing with of the coronavirus pandemic. It additionally famous that the coronavirus lockdown “resulted within the harmful and unplanned displacement of tens of millions of inside migrant employees”.

“The authorities of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its state-level allies continued to crack down on critics through the yr, and their response to COVID-19 included a ham-fisted lockdown that resulted within the harmful and unplanned displacement of tens of millions of inside migrant employees. The ruling Hindu nationalist motion additionally inspired the scapegoating of Muslims, who had been disproportionately blamed for the unfold of the virus and confronted assaults by vigilante mobs.”

The reference was the Nizamuddin Markaz (centre) case, which noticed a gathering of Muslims (Tablighi Jamaatis) being held accountable by the Centre for the preliminary unfold of coronavirus pandemic in Delhi. The media protection of the incident was additionally extremely criticised as many believed it gave rise to anti-Muslim sentiments in a polarised environment within the midst of a pandemic.

The report additionally famous that judicial independence had additionally come below pressure, pointing to the case of a Delhi High Court choose who was transferred after reprimanding the police for taking no motion through the Delhi riots.

It additionally talked about the so-called ‘love-jihad legislation’ which has been applied in a number of BJP-ruled states to outlaw “forced conversion”, however which activists worry would hinder interfaith marriages altogether.

India’s freedom rating, calculated utilizing indicators of political rights and civil liberties, dropped 4 factors to 67 this yr. The nation scored 34 out of 40 on political rights and 33 out of 60 on civil liberties.

The report painted an total grim image for the ideas of democracy the world over. But the alleged downturn in India’s democratic values meant that now solely 20 p.c of the world’s inhabitants lives in a liberal democracy.

The report discovered that though democracy’s downward spiral was in line with a 15-year-trend, in 2020, the international locations experiencing deterioration outnumbered these with enhancements by the biggest margin recorded since 2006. With this, practically 75 p.c of the world’s inhabitants now lives in a rustic that confronted deterioration final yr.

The report, made public on Wednesday, additionally elicited some reactions in India. All India Trinamool Congress chief Mahua Moitra stated:

Congress chief Salman Anees Soz, quoting the report stated, “An authoritarian regime presiding over a weak economy and destroying hard-earned soft power capabilities will not leave India in a good place globally.”

Freedom House report criticises China

The report was particularly important of China, which it famous amped up its international disinformation and censorship marketing campaign to counter the “fallout from its cover-up of the preliminary coronavirus outbreak”.

“Meanwhile, the Chinese regime has gained clout in multilateral institutions such as the UN Human Rights Council, which the United States abandoned in 2018, as Beijing pushed a vision of so-called non-interference that allows abuses of democratic principles and human rights standards to go unpunished while the formation of autocratic alliances is promoted,” the report learn.

It stated that the ongoing decline has given rise to claims of democracy’s inherent inferiority by international locations like China and Russia “seeking to strengthen their international influence while escaping accountability for abuses”.

It additionally famous that India, which is the world’s most populous democracy, didn’t counter the affect of such nations.

“Rather than serving as a champion of democratic practice and a counterweight to authoritarian influence from countries such as China, Modi and his party are tragically driving India itself toward authoritarianism.”

According to a report in Vox, the rankings have grow to be a remarkably reliable benchmark within the free world since Freedom House overhauled its methodology twice (in 1990 and in 2006) to scale back previous issues corresponding to a bias in favour of US allies.

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