We May Be Overlooking a Dangerous Slide in India

Vox reports on how government silences critics in America through intimidation
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2024 12:43 PM CDT
India Silences Its Critics— on US Soil
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prays at a temple in Varanasi, India. His government is accused of harassing critics abroad.   (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar)

When reporter Zack Beauchamp was speaking to an expert on India who lived in the US, the person mentioned they were afraid of being too critical for fear the government would go after relatives back in India. It sounded like a tactic you might hear in regard to China or Russia. But India? The world's biggest democracy? Beauchamp decided to investigate whether India might be guilty of this kind of thing as well—and he writes in an investigative piece for Vox that the answer is a resounding yes. "Interviews with political figures, experts, and activists revealed a sustained campaign where Narendra Modi's government threatens American citizens and permanent residents who dare speak out on the declining state of the country's democracy," he writes.

The story includes multiple examples, including that of journalist Raqib Naik, who left India for the US when military intelligence officers kept interrogating him over his critical stories. Once in the US, he received a chilling message from an Indian military official saying, "i have invited your father for a cup of tea." (The father was released after being questioned about his son at a military camp.) Beauchamp writes that such harassment got into full swing after Narendra Modi took office in 2014, the upshot being that Indian Americans who oppose his government are afraid to speak out. "As a result, one of the most important developments of our time—Modi pushing the world's largest democracy toward an authoritarian future—is receiving far less scrutiny than it should, especially at a time when Modi is running for a historic third term." Read the full story. (India has been implicated in a foiled assassination plot of a critic on US soil.)

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