Den Haag – Den Haag Centraal NS

Den Haag Centraal
Tram Station High Level

22 December 2019


HTM Randstad Rail 3 to Loosduinen


HTM Lijn 2 to Leidsendam


HTM Lijn 2 to Kraayenstein


Centraal Station
HTM RandstadRail Tram 3 and 4 – HTM Tram 2


HTM Tram 6 to Leidschendam Noord


HTM Randstadrail 3 to De Uithof

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

Pieter Friedrich – US Congressman Ami Bera called out for Sikh genocide denial

Bera ignores atrocities in favor of protecting the Indian government

“Ami Bera is a Sikh Holocaust denier,” I shouted at the US congressman’s 22 January 2019 town hall in Elk Grove, California. “Ami Bera, you need to answer for your refusal to recognize the 1984 Sikh Genocide was sponsored by the Indian government.”

Bera’s event was just concluding. I’d arrived with a prepared question, hoping to ask the congressman about his stance on the most significant event of Sikh history in living memory.

Yet his town hall, which was presumably intended to allow concerned community members to interact with the representative, was carefully structured to prevent any critical questions. They were only taking written questions. I submitted one. They filtered it out.

So I stood up to call out the congressman.

In 2014, US Congressman Ami Bera almost lost his re-election to a second term because of his stance on the 1984 Sikh Genocide.

When Bera was first elected in 2012, he was the only Indian-American in US Congress, and one of only three to serve since Dalip Singh Saund had the distinct honor of being the first Asian, Indian, or Sikh elected way back in 1957.

The Indian minority community in his district, including Sikhs, initially had high hopes for Bera. The Democratic congressman had strong support even from local Republican Sikhs.

In 2013, Bera joined the newly-formed American Sikh Congressional Caucus, indicating he would lend an ear to the community’s concerns. But then he pledged that the Sikh Caucus would ignore the most important issue for the global Sikh community and only “deal with domestic civil rights issues.”

He declared that “any matters involving India” would be handled by the Congressional Caucus on India (of which he later became a co-chair).

Thus, just as a platform was founded with the promise of providing Sikhs a voice in the federal government, Bera demanded that American Sikhs who are pursuing justice for the 1984 Sikh Genocide, which was perpetrated by the Indian government, should raise that issue through the pro-government India Caucus rather than their own Sikh Caucus.

Bera’s anti-Sikh position crystallized the following year.

In April 2014, prominent community leaders and organizations formed the American Sikh Committee to Evaluate Congressional Candidates. Its sole purpose was to question congressional representatives and candidates about their positions on key Sikh issues.

Among questions about racial profiling, school bullying, and the rights of Sikhs to serve in the military, the committee also asked two questions about the Sikh genocide.

Would the respondents agree, asked the committee, that “thousands of Sikhs were murdered in India in November 1984 with the assistance of or lack of intervention by political parties, law enforcement, military or members of the government” and would they, as members of Congress, “seek to remember and acknowledge the pogroms against Sikhs in November 1984, pursue justice for the victims, and work to ensure it does not happen again”?

Bera, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, refused to answer. His refusal sparked a firestorm of opposition. Californian Sikhs launched a sustained campaign to unseat him.

“For two elections, I told my community that Dr Bera was a man of conscience that would stand with the Sikh community on civil rights and human rights issues,” announced local Democratic Party activist Amar Singh Shergill. “I was wrong. Now it falls on me to correct that impression.”

Taking the lead, Shergill formed American Sikhs for Truth. The group mailed out anti-Bera flyers to Sikhs in his district and organized personal visits to approximately 1,300 registered Sikh voters.

“This is the equivalent of denying that the South African government was responsible for apartheid,” explained Shergill. “Bera apparently is more interested in protecting the Indian government than he is in speaking the truth about a genocide.”

Bera confirmed Shergill’s evaluation when, while Sikhs were campaigning against him, he traveled to New York City to join newly-elected Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a political rally at Madison Square Garden.

Although Modi had been banned from the US since 2005 because of his involvement in the 2002 Gujarat Pogrom, another state-sponsored atrocity that left thousands of Indian minorities dead, Bera was elated to join Modi’s “rockstar reception” in New York. “I thank Mr. Modi for his inspirational words and for the vision he laid out today,” he declared after the event.

As Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, guided by the fascist ideology of its parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, implements its Hindu nationalist agenda with increasing speed and lethality, Bera has remained a staunch supporter of the controversial prime minister.

When Modi was re-elected in May 2019, Bera declared said, “[I] look forward to working with him and his government to advance the values and interests that bind our two nations.” His support appears entirely unconditional.

Meanwhile, Bera’s political clout is rising. He is now a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In December 2019, he was also appointed chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation, the subcommittee responsible for handling America’s foreign policy towards India.

The 22nd of January, the day of Bera’s town hall, marked the anniversary of the murder of Graham Staines.

Staines, an Australian Christian missionary who had dedicated his life to working in a leper colony in the Indian state of Odisha, was burned alive along with his two young sons by a mob of Bajrang Dal activists on 22 January 1999.

Pratap Sarangi, the man who headed Bajrang Dal in the state at the time is today, a member of parliament serving in the Union Cabinet. His rise to power is not an anomaly.

In the state of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath is now chief minister despite eyewitness claims that, as a former member of parliament, he led a mob that torched a Gurdwara and burned Sikhs alive during in 1984.

After L K Advani oversaw the 1992 destruction of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya (which was followed by anti-Muslim pogroms), he became deputy prime minister. Modi, of course, is currently prime minister despite being implicated in the anti-Muslim violence of 2002.

Indeed, everywhere one looks in India, the only punishment the powerful receive for orchestrating the grossest of atrocities is promotion to ever higher positions of power.

In 2019, the culture of oppression escalated rapidly.

Modi’s government annexed Kashmir, placed nearly two million Assamese on a list of people who may be stripped of citizenship and placed in detention camps, issued the Ayodhya verdict to green-light construction of a temple on disputed land and hand the rights to build it over to the same people responsible for the violent demolition of the Babri Masjid, and passed the Citizenship Amendment Act to make religion the basis for acquiring Indian citizenship.

Now the BJP wants to implement a National Register of Citizens that would require every resident of India to prove their citizenship, and it is violently crushing anti-CAA/NRC protests as they continue to erupt all across the country.

Are these the “values and interests” which Bera believes bind the US and India together? Are the CAA and NRC, which many people are comparing to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg Laws, representative of the “inspirational” vision for which Bera has praised Modi?

How will Congressman Ami Bera, who now holds the reins to American foreign policy towards India, react to the reality of Modi’s fascist regime?

Will he continue to be more interested in protecting the Indian government than he is in speaking the truth about genocide?

“Ami Bera denies the 1984 Sikh genocide,” I shouted at Bera’s town hall. “The Sikh community of California has launched a bipartisan campaign to unseat you, and you have ignored this minority community. You will be held accountable for this, Congressman Bera.”

As I raised my voice, Bera put his hands in his pockets and continued to do what he has been doing for years, ignored the outrage.

Pieter Friedrich is a South Asian Affairs Analyst who resides in California. He is the co-author of Captivating the Simple-Hearted: A Struggle for Human Dignity in the Indian Subcontinent. Discover more by him at pieterfriedrich.net.

www.pieterfriedrich.net

The Print – The world has a message for Modi: Brand India is severely damaged

India’s image, and by extension Modi’s, has been damaged by a combination of identity politics and economic decline. But the world isn’t writing us off, not yet.

Shekhar Gupta

New Delhi – India, 25 January 2020. Is the world always conspiring to pull India down? Are the big powers, especially in the democratic West, fearful of India’s rise?

Is there, to use a term fashionable among the faithful lately, a Christo-Islamic plot against the rise of a Hindu India? Does the rest of the world hold India and other countries, say China, to different standards?

All of the above are untrue, except the last, and for that there is a reason: The size and dynamism of China’s economy. The truth is, for seven decades now, almost all of the rest of the world has wanted India to succeed.

Barring traditional adversaries Pakistan and China, it is difficult to name a nation that didn’t wish India well, or benefits from its failure. This, despite the fact that we’ve by now built a chronic habit of raising expectations every decade or so, and letting ourselves, and our global admirers, down. That, precisely, is the mood right now.

India’s economic stall is a setback indeed.

The bigger problem, however, is the precipitous fall of its moral stature, with struggling social indicators, falling rankings on democracy and corruption scales, spontaneous, peaceful nation-wide protests against CAA/NRC, and an establishment discourse that is getting more angry, vengeful and exclusivist by the day.

In three decades of Davos since the Cold War, whether or not India was among the flavours of the season, it was always looked at with a sense of expectation, and awe at the growing ease with which it was able to manage its diversity, change governments democratically, and globalise its thinking, economically and strategically.

These three decades have seen the world rocked by several major crises, precisely because of the failure of many other countries and regions to do this, from the Balkans to the Middle-East to pockets in Africa.

India’s economy grew in the post-1991 phase impressively, and that further enhanced Brand India. Look at this chaotic country that becomes socially and politically more stable by the year, and is now one of the engines of global growth.

China kept way ahead of India, but it wasn’t setting an example with its authoritarian political economy that anyone wanted to, or could afford to, follow. Not even Putin’s Russia and Ayatollahs’ Iran.

India was the opposite. An inspirational example to the rest of the world, that big, diverse nations could grow not “in spite of” democracy, but because of it. Imagine, if a nation as diverse as India did not have its liberal, democratic, inclusive political and social culture, where would it end up?

It could break up like the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia or the Middle-East. Or go the authoritarian way of Russia, Turkey and China. A growing and increasingly secure and stable India, with its poverty, diversity and a million problems, was a valuable ambassador for democracy and liberalism.

That, unfortunately, is under threat now. India’s friends and fans of decades now look askance at us. The question you hear most often is, so what is going on in India? Is it going to get worse? How did you get here? No one, no foreign power, political, corporate or opinion leader, is celebrating India’s stall. But the alarmed SOS, particularly from our friends is: India, we have a problem.

We are not at a stage which you could describe as a fall from grace. Not yet. Because our friends are also incorrigible optimists, and inured to the idea of India flattering to deceive every now and then.

They draw comfort from what they see as a brave pushback from at least some of India’s institutions, occasionally even the judiciary and some media, the youth and, of course, I say it bracing for the consequences, widespread protests by women, students and the Muslims.

The message you hear often: You have problems. But in which other country, in such an environment, would you still have men and women, Muslim and Hindu, gathering in the streets, reading the Preamble to their Constitution?

One instinctive hyper-nationalist counter to this would be, oh, what else would you hear if only people you are talking to are like yourselves: Editors, woolly-headed intellectuals and, that favourite slur, Left-liberal. You would expect them to detest India’s first democratically-elected government of the Hindu Right.

Two things need to be underlined, however. First, people in this category have traditionally been the biggest Indophiles. They’ve also been at the forefront of hailing India’s post-1991 rise, and back its battle with terrorism emanating from Pakistan. In these decades, they’ve treated Pakistan as a global migraine, university of jihad, a classical nuisance state.

Today, they watch in silent bemusement as Imran Khan grandly compares India going the way of Germany in the 1930s under the Nazis. They don’t agree, nor would they wish it were true. But they don’t know how to defend India. They exchange stories of visa troubles for academics and journalists, pressures on media, and ask why India is acting like China.

And second, it isn’t just the intellectual/policy/media universe that is abuzz with these new doubts. The global corporates are concerned too: You used to have policy predictability, now it’s a yo-yo.

New taxes and regulations pop up, some disappear soon, many linger. Your tax and regulatory processes, and top of it all, your judiciary, are muddled, and now the return of old socialist fixations such as import-substitution, swadeshi, and a small-trader mercantilist ideology. On top of all that, your ministers admonish us.

In short, in one sense or the other, most see India’s transformation into a prickly state. They don’t like it.

The next counter would, perhaps, be the one of the obsolescence of soft power and the rise of hard power instead, that a new history began post-2014, and this India doesn’t bend over backwards to please others. We run into two problems again.

First, that you could make that transition if you had built that kind of hard power in the first place. Those who know better in the international strategic community, and are not impressed by our news TV channels, know that while the post-Pulwama 26/27 February action demonstrated a hard resolve on India’s part to retaliate and risk escalation, the lack of capability to deliver a decisive, unilateral punishment on a much smaller power like Pakistan was severely exposed.

India, therefore, is getting caught up in its own rhetoric to prematurely declare itself as a new hard power, while giving up what was its strength so far. The message: There are perils in flaunting something when you haven’t got it.

And second, as any marketing person would tell you, all brands, including nations, have some essential brand attributes. For China, it is a hard state, uncluttered, efficient governance, ethnic homogeneity, a super-power’s military, and the ‘distinction’ of carrying out the largest number of executions in the world each year and also keeping it a state secret.

For Pakistan, our favourite reference point these days, we’d rather not even talk. But India’s core brand attributes are democracy, ease of living with diversity, a chaotic, cluttered but inclusive governance, and an argumentative, opinionated society.

And it’s by no means a soft state. It can’t be, if it is the only large, diverse state to emerge after World War II to not only stay intact, but emerge stronger. All others, from the Soviet Union to Pakistan, the hardest of hard states, broke up.

We can dismiss it all as Western prejudice with India, and especially with Hinduism. It won’t change the fact that a combination of identity politics and economic decline has severely damaged Brand India.

Collaterally, it has dented Brand Modi as well. We need to take a deep breath, whisper mea culpa and start repairs. Of course, we can always say, do we care? At 4.8 per cent growth and the highest unemployment in 45 years, it simply won’t work.

The world has a message for Modi: Brand India is severely damaged

BBC News – George Soros takes aim at ‘authoritarian’ Presidents Xi and Trump

Daniel Thomas, Business reporter

Davos – Switzerland, 24 January 2020. Billionaire philanthropist George Soros has launched a stinging attack on the “authoritarian rulers” of both the US and China.

He said President Donald Trump was a “conman and the ultimate narcissist” who had breached the limits of the US constitution.

And he said China’s President Xi Jinping was using technology to exert total control over Chinese life.

“The world would be a better place if they weren’t in power,” Mr Soros said.

Using his annual speech at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, the financier warned of a growing threat from populism and climate change, while pledging $1bn towards a new global university network to tackle intolerance.

But the businessman – who is a major donor to the US Democratic party – said Beijing and Washington posed the biggest threat to “open societies”.

“Both [leaders] try to extend the powers of their office to its limit and beyond.

“Trump is willing to sacrifice the national interests for his personal interests and he will do practically anything to win re-election.

“By contrast, Xi Jinping is eager to exploit Trump’s weaknesses and use artificial intelligence to achieve total control over his people.”

The White House was approached for comment.

Mr Soros also targeted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying the Indian state was “imposing punitive measures on Kashmir, a semi-autonomous Muslim region, and threatening to deprive millions of Muslims of their citizenship”.

He was referring to two controversial decisions made by Mr Modi’s Hindu nationalist government.

The first was to strip the disputed Kashmir region of its semi-autonomous status and place it under virtual lockdown.

The second is the introduction and passage of a controversial citizenship law that critics say is discriminatory towards Muslims.

It seeks to fast-track Indian citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from three nearby Muslim-majority countries.

The US and China recently struck a deal to de-escalate a major trade war which has seen both sides impose tariffs on billions of dollars worth of exports.

But Mr Soros said President Xi’s had stifled China’s economy, while Mr Trump had “overheated” his.

“US stock markets are high but can’t be kept at boiling point for too long.”

Mr Soros, a Jew who survived Nazi occupation by forging identity documents, became infamous for his involvement in the devaluation of the British pound, known as Black Wednesday.

But it is his philanthropic and political activities that have made him a divisive figure in the US, Europe and beyond.

He has spent billions of his own money funding human rights projects and liberal democratic ventures around the world, and has become a frequent target for criticism by right-wing groups due to his support for liberal causes.

Much of the criticism aimed at him has been criticised as having anti-Semitic undertones.

The financier, who is a regular at the elite World Economic Forum, said his new university network would help promote “critical thinking” in an age of intolerance.

The move will be seen as a riposte to Hungarian President Victor Orban, who has repeatedly tried to shut down the Central European University, a private institution set up by Mr Soros in the country in 1971.

Mr Orban’s populist nationalist government claims Mr Soros has a secret plot to flood Hungary with migrants and destroy the nation, an accusation Mr Soros denies.

Mr Soros said the network would be “the most important and enduring project of my life and I should like to see it implemented while I am still around”.

https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51230994

Sikh24.com – Will drag Kamal Nath by collar if he dared to address any public rally in Delhi, says Sirsa

Sikh24 Editors

New Delhi – India, 23 January 2020. Reacting to the nomination of the 1984 Sikh genocide culprit Kamal Nath as a star campaigner for Delhi assembly polls, the DSGMC president Manjinder Singh Sirsa has said that the Sikhs will drag Kamal Nath by his collar if he tried to address a public rally in Delhi.

“We challenge Congress to try and send Kamal Nath on stage during public rally, then we will drag him down by pulling his collar,” he said while adding that the Congress has been promoting the killers of Sikhs.

“The Sikh community has been struggling to bring Kamal Nath to justice for the last 35 years, but Congress has repeatedly promoted him, sometimes by giving him a ticket, sometimes by becoming making him a minister,” Sirsa said.

Will drag Kamal Nath by collar if he dared to address any public rally in Delhi, says Sirsa  

Den Haag – Spui/Kalvermarkt – Den Haag Centraal

Spui/Kalvermarkt
28 December 2019


Spui


Kalvermarkt


Tram 16 to Statenkwartier – Tram 9 to Scheveningen Noord


Kalvermarkt


Tram 9 to Vrederust


Den Haag Centraal
HTM Trams – RET Metro and NS Trains

More Netherlands pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

I News – The debate around whether Sikhs should be an ethnic group on the UK census is set to reignite

The issue has been divisive within the Sikh community

Serina Sandhu

London – UK, 24 January 2020. The divisive debate around whether Britain’s Sikh community should be considered an ethnic group is set to reignite as preparations are made for the 2021 census.

An Order Paper for the census in England and Wales, which will be laid before Parliament this year, will set out which questions the public will have to answer and give MPs a chance to debate and agree the proposals.

One topic that is likely to be up for discussion is the Office for National Statistic’s (ONS) decision against including a Sikh tick box under the ethnicity question.

Sikhism is already an option under the religion question on the census but some campaigners believe it is a religio-ethnic community that should be considered an ethnicity on the form, which collects information about the UK population every decade.

The Sikh Federation, a non-governmental organisation which aims to promote the community’s interests among policymakers, say there is a lack of information about Sikhs in Britain, which could impact the provision of public services for the community.

This could be resolved by making a Sikh tick box under the ethnicity question, which, unlike the religion category, is compulsory to fill in.

High Court battle

But in December, the Sikh Federation lost a High Court battle in which it argued it would be “unlawful” for the 2021 Census not to include the tick box.

The judge said the claim was “premature” and should have been brought after the Census Order. The Cabinet Office does not have a date for the order, which was expected in autumn 2019, but it is likely to be high on the agenda as the nationwide questionnaire is scheduled for next year.

The Sikh Federation, supported by some members of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for British Sikhs, is seeking permission to appeal the legal ruling.

“The High Court judgement on 12 December 2019 and the appeal are [putting] huge pressure on Cabinet Office ministers to grant the option of a Sikh ethnic tick box response in the draft Census Order to be presented to Parliament,” the federation told i.

A further legal challenge could mean the 2021 census suffers significant delays, it warned.

Chair of the APPG and Labour MP Preet Gill says the campaign for a Sikh ethnic tick box has cross-party support and that efforts are being made “to put this wrong right”.

“The Sikh community is asking the Government to give them the same rights as the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community in ensuring public bodies record data so that service provision addresses the needs of the wider community regarding health inequalities, housing and school provision,” she adds.

However, other prominent members of the Sikh community believe the campaign for an ethnic tick box is misrepresenting what the population actually wants. Lord Indarjit Singh of Wimbledon believes granting the tick box would go against the very foundations of the Sikh religion.

“Sikhism is a religion that recognises equality of all people and does not look favourably on people trying to be exclusive groups,” he tells i. “The difficulty is that there is a lot of ignorance about religion and particularly the Sikh religion,” he adds.

“I have spoken to MPs who are trying to be supportive who say we should support this ethnicity thing because that’s what the Sikhs want. Well they don’t. The Sikh Federation has a loud voice. They are misrepresenting the Sikh community.”

Consultation

The ONS, which is responsible for the census in England Wales, carried out a consultation on the Sikh tick box but decided against recommending any changes to the form.

It said the evidence showed it would “not be acceptable to a proportion of the Sikh population”.

“ONS considers that the estimates of the Sikh population can be met through data from the specific response option in the Sikh religion question,” it added.

During the last census, in 2011, 430,000 people said their religion was Sikh. But according to the Sikh Federation, the population could be between 700,000 and 800,000.

Even without any fundamental change to the ethnicity options in the 2021 census, people can still choose to write in Sikh under “other, specify”.

The Cabinet Office said: “Anyone who wishes to identify as Sikh has and will be able to do so.

“The Office for National Statistics’ recommendations follow extensive research and consultation with a range of groups and individuals, including the Sikh community.”

The Sikh Ethnic group as defined by the Law Lords is not based on biology but on sharing a common culture, the Sikh culture
Man in Blue

https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/sikhs-ethnic-group-2021-uk-census-debate-government-1374913

Dawn – Not just the Economist: Modi’s image in the global press has taken a beating in the last two months

From western media to publications in India’s neighbourhood, Narendra Modi’s second term has invited much more criticism.

New Delhi – India, 24 January 2020. Narendra Modi was once known globally as the Indian politician who presided over the violent Gujarat riots. Despite being a chief minister, Modi was in 2005 denied a visa to the United States, which found him responsible for violating religious freedoms in the 2002 riots that saw more than 1,000 people killed.

In the decade that followed, Modi managed to resuscitate his global image, such that he was a perceived as a business-friendly, efficient politician who was on track to lead India.

Now, nearly two decades after those riots and six years after Modi became prime minister of India, global coverage is once again bringing scrutiny to the Hindu nationalist policies of his government that have sparked countrywide protests over the last month.

This week’s cover of The Economist, titled “Intolerant India: How Modi is endangering the world’s biggest democracy”, drives this home clearly.

But it is not just The Economist.

Global media across the board has drawn attention to Modi’s divisive moves in recent months. After winning re-election in 2019, Modi has used his second term to double down on his party’s Hindu nationalist agenda, most prominently by stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomy and passing a controversial piece of legislation that adds religious criteria to India’s citizenship laws.

Many believe the moves are meant to drive home the idea that India belongs to Hindus.

While in some cases the reports were written by Indians, including opinion pieces by analysts offering their own commentary, the coverage makes it clear that those following the news about India from afar have been made aware of the controversial nature of Modi’s second term.

This has happened even as Modi has convinced his base that both his own reputation and that of India has risen tremendously over the last year. Here are some of the pieces in the foreign press:

Israel’s Ha’aretz carried a piece in December 2019 by Khinvraj Jangid, headlined: ‘Modi’s Malignant anti-Muslim Vision for India Is Becoming Reality’:

“Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, was deeply concerned with the fate of democracy in Asia. He was proud of the fact that Israel was founded, amidst regional violence, as a democracy in 1948, and believed India, founded a year earlier, offered great hope in Asia thanks to its democratic, secular and egalitarian ambitions.

Ben-Gurion’s admiration for Nehru’s vision was not dulled by the fact that even a full decade after India recognized Israel in 1950, New Delhi was still reluctant to establish diplomatic relations.

But now, under the premiership of Narendra Modi, precisely the values that Ben-Gurion and many other world leaders so admired are being systematically undermined in India.”

“India is a Hindu state now, we are second-class citizens”, reads the headline of a report from the UK’s The Times on January 10. The report begins with this harrowing anecdote:

The crowd scattered and word spread up the street in panic: “Police, police.” While protesters scrambled to flee over the rooftops of the block in old Lucknow, dozens of officers burst in below, raining blows on women and children. The Muslim families cowered from their attackers.

“Take her veil off, check if she’s a man,” one officer yelled, pointing to Salma Hussain, 29, who wept as she recalled the humiliation. The women were groped and officers commented on their breasts as they beat them.

“One man put a gun to my head,” said Tabasum Raza, 26. “He said: ‘Tell me where the men are hiding or I’ll shoot you.’”

China’s Global Times carried the perspective of an academic seeking to explain what he sees the difference between Chinese nationalism’s motivations and those of India’s Hindu nationalism:

“The rise of Hindu nationalism has broader implications for international politics. Hindu nationalism tends to be motivated by winning, which needs constant victories and reputation to nurture itself, or it will lose the driving force or even destroy development, unlike nationalism in China, which tends to be triggered by sorrowful sentiment, when the country is being invaded or bullied.

Therefore, Hindu nationalism will not be satisfied to be only the dominant force within India. It will push the country to pursue higher international status, from permanent membership in the UN Security Council to dominance in the Indian Ocean and South Asia and eventually a major world power, to satisfy the need for victory and reputation.”

Russia Today is a rare outlier, carrying a piece by an Indian academic defending Modi’s actions and claiming that the protests are anti-democratic.

“It is difficult to understand how India, the world’s largest representative democracy that concluded a massive electoral exercise in 2019, has turned overnight into an “autocracy.” The BJP, that forms the federal government at the Center, has suffered recent reverses in state elections to further underline the vibrancy of India’s democracy.

If liberal democracies around the world are facing a threat, it is not from populist leaders but “liberals” themselves who are unable to come to terms with reality. A little humility may help.”

It isn’t just in the West. The critical coverage of India is apparent in the neighbourhood too.

One might expect such pieces from the Pakistani press, since the discourse around the current controversy has seen Modi and his government once again attempt to deflect pressure by blaming Islamabad, but in other South Asian countries also, questions are being asked about Modi’s leadership.

A piece in Bangladesh’s Daily Star brings up the likely impact it may have on the country.

“The Act clearly brought into the open how the BJP government of India views Bangladesh. Such negative depiction has been an affront for the people of Bangladesh. The rolling out of the NRC and the application of CAA are likely to have grave consequences for Bangladesh.

It is time for those at the helm of the state to discard the rhetoric, take stock of these developments and collectively develop a national strategy to face the likely challenge.” The Annapurna Express in Nepal carried an interview of political scientist Hari Sharma, explaining what is different between the politics of India and his country:

“We did try politics based on religion by introducing the threat of Christians but that did not play out well. But in India, Hindutva is propagated against Islam. In India religion is divisive or a faultline, just like in the USA race is a fault-line. In our country, religion is not a fault line so far. But if we learn bad things from India, it could become a faultline.”

Returning to the West, on Monkey Cage, a Washington Post blog, one analyst explained why it was significant that the protesters are holding up the Indian flag and the Constitution at demonstrations.

“This is why the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the National Registry of Citizens are so explosive.

They are only the latest in a string of recently enacted BJP policies that restrict national belonging, including revoking the autonomous status of Indian-administered Kashmir, a disputed Muslim-majority region; accompanied by an ongoing military siege; rewriting textbooks to promote the BJP’s political program and ideology; and condoning violence against Muslims.

Together, these policies constitute a systematic BJP project to violently redraw the boundaries of national belonging to include only the ethnic-majority Hindus and to exclude ethnic minorities, notably Muslims. This rejects the secular, multicultural principles upon which India was founded and which are embodied in the flag, the anthem and, most explicitly, the constitution.

By invoking these symbols, the protesters in India are drawing on this historic, inclusive vision of their country.”

The Washington Post’s coverage, in fact, seems to have bothered Modi enough that when Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who also owns the newspaper, announced that he was planning to invest another $1 billion into India earlier this month, a Union minister said he was not doing the country any favours.

Another leader from Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party explained that several comments about Bezos were indeed about The Washington Post’s coverage of India.

This brings up the other narrative that is accompanying a lot of the critical pieces written about India over the last few months. It is not just that Modi has moved forward on his Hindu nationalist agenda. This has also come at a time when India, once seen as a rising power that could challenge China in the region, has seen its economic fortunes nosedive.

As the Wall Street Journal points out, it is the combination of controversial moves and a slowing economy that is adding to the global concerns about India, enough for the International Monetary Fund to say that the country is dragging down the world economy, while another report cites India as being at “extreme risk” of civil unrest.

Here is the Journal’s Bill Spindle:

“Since [his May 2019 re-election] Mr. Modi has paused only briefly to address the economy—most notably with a big corporate tax cut after the election, as the BJP has raced to accomplish controversial initiatives long espoused by the party’s most ideological Hindu nationalist supporters.

Each move sparked criticism and questioning from abroad and increased anxiety among some domestically, particularly Muslims and a wider group of Indians concerned the country’s democracy is turning in a religiously intolerant and majoritarian direction.

Yet even as social discontent rises, the economy’s stubborn sluggishness looms as a largely unaddressed menace that could exacerbate those problems, say many economists.”

https://scroll.in/article/950930/not-just-the-economist-modis-image-has-taken-a-beating-in-the-global-press-in-the-last-two-months