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Sunday, February 28, 2021

Here are 6 recent shameful incidents that ruin India’s image at global level

A lot of major developments have happened over the recent past in our country. Even though the pandemic is still the biggest issue in the world now and India is the second worst affected country with around 70 lakh cases, we can’t look away from these recent incidents that took place in India but created ripples across the universe. As we all know India made it to the global headlines when it developed a grim GDP mark of -23.9% very recently. But the major issues that have happened since then are too dark and stoops our head low in the international platform. In this article, we shall highlight those developments and try to raise our voice for joint community efforts and governmental support to improve the overall situation from the present state of affairs.

Here are 6 recent shameful incidents that ruin India’s image at global level

1. Nobel winner cites India as ‘poster child of what not to do’

Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz on Tuesday called India the “poster child of what not to do” during a session with Indian business leaders and economists. He said the country had not done well in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. The interaction was organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s (Ficci) West Bengal state council and moderated by its chairman Rudra Chatterjee. Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University and had been chief economist at the World Bank from 1997-2000. Here’s what he said on what India had gotten wrong and what it needed to do. Stiglitz criticised how India implemented the lockdown, saying the ensuing migrant crisis exacerbated the pandemic in the country.“It (India) picked up one idea that is important. Lockdown. Did not think about what it means in a poor country. How are people going to live, large number of people moving across the country. One could not have imagined anything worse for spreading the disease,” he said.

Well, the Nobel laureate’s statement is significant enough to tarnish India’s image at the global platform. We, the citizens of India, know how correct this observation is as we lived and are still living the economic fiasco of our country. We have seen how hastily the lockdown was imposed back in March without any preparation, how hundreds of migrant workers lost their lives, mills shut down, jobs cut off and thus the backbone of the economy was broken.

2. Rape, violence against Dalit woman in Hathras, UP

Well, now this is not a new subject for which India earned global criticism. The 2012 Nirbhaya rape case in capital New Delhi created massive international outrage for the sheer gruesomeness of the crime. The same fear came to the fore yet again this year. Last week, it was reported that a 19-year-old Dalit woman (the Dalits were once called “Untouchables”) was allegedly gang raped and assaulted by a group of upper caste men in Uttar Pradesh state again. The news shone the spotlight again on the rampant sexual violence faced by India’s 80 million Dalit women, who like their male counterparts languish at the bottom of India’s unbending and harsh caste hierarchy. These women, who comprise about 16% of India’s female population, face a “triple burden” of gender bias, caste discrimination and economic deprivation. “The Dalit female belongs to the most oppressed group in the world,” says Dr Suraj Yengde, author of Caste Matters told BBC. “She is a victim of the cultures, structures and institutions of oppression, both externally and internally. This manifests in perpetual violence against Dalit women.”

The aftermath of the recent rape and murder of a woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, allegedly by upper caste men, played out the way it usually does when a Dalit woman is attacked: police are slow to register a complaint; investigations are tardy; officials raise doubts there was a rape; there are insinuations it had nothing to do with caste; and authorities appear, perhaps, to be complicit in siding with the upper caste perpetrators of violence. Even some of the media, from newsrooms dominated by upper caste journalists, question why sexual violence should be linked to caste. In other words, the state and parts of society in India conspire to downplay or erase the links between sexual violence and the hierarchies of caste.

The incident was covered by almost all international media outlets and the India government was heavily criticised for failing to ensure issues concerning women’s safety and women’s rights.

3. The departure of Amnesty International

This is another major blow to our country that caused us enough shame and faceloss at the global level. The human rights organization Amnesty International recently left India and said that it had ceased its operations in India and laid off its entire staff in response to a series of government reprisals including the freezing of its bank accounts.Amnesty said that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi had targeted the organization for years in response to its work exposing human rights violations in India. In recent months, the group has published reports on the Delhi police’s role in fomenting anti-Muslim violence and on the use of torture in Kashmir. The Indian government said in a statement that the allegations from Amnesty were “unfortunate, exaggerated and far from the truth.” The organization has repeatedly violated local laws by circumventing the regulations under which foreign entities can receive donations from abroad, the government added. “All the glossy statements about humanitarian work and speaking truth to power are nothing but a ploy to divert attention from their activities which were in clear contravention of laid-down Indian laws,” the statement said.

The departure of Amnesty International means a huge loss for India in terms of development of plans and projects concerning human rights and responsibilities, government coordination and positive change in people’s lives. The organization’s halt of work in India is being discussed by various international media and human rights groups and albeit none of them puts the Modi government in positive light during those discussions.

4. All accused in Babri mosque demolition acquitted

This incident upheld the idea that India is far from its “official” secular identity. A court in India acquitted all the suspects, including several high-profile politicians from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, who were accused of demolishing a centuries-old mosque in the northern Indian city of Ayodhya in 1992 — the latest turn in a case that has long unsettled India and its secular foundations.The court verdict is likely to further sow insecurity among the country’s Muslims, who already feel threatened by Modi’s efforts to turn India into an overtly Hindu state.The Babri Mosque was situated on land in Ayodhya, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, that was claimed by both Hindus and Muslims. Last year, the Indian Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hindus, allowing them to build a temple on the site.Thousands of Hindu extremists stormed the 16th-century mosque in 1992, demolishing it with their bare hands and sledgehammers, and plunging the country into a political and religious crisis. The destruction of the mosque set off riots across the country that killed around 2,000 people in some of the worst violence India had seen since its bloody partition in 1947.

We know how India earned bad name at the global over cog vigilantism, killing over beef consumption and other such cases. India that once boasted on its secular identity is no longer so, but mostly known as a fundamentalist Hindu nation. There are multiple instances of attacks on independent voices, minority people and free thinkers. Acquittal of all accused in the Babri Masjid case reinforced India’s extreme Right wing image.

5. Weak international policy against China

India is being considered as having a weak policy against China. There is a growing chorus on the need to get tough on China. And India’s policy, too, appears to be shifting towards building more meaningful partnerships through platforms such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or the Quad. The latest meeting in Tokyo is indicative of the rising concerns around China. This was overdue and should be welcomed. However, there are still questions to be asked. India faced its most violent faceoff with China in eastern Ladakh this summer and lost its 22 jawans, still the country is going slow China and is yet to have a strong gameplan to curb any such event in future.

India can change its foreign policy, but if its fundamental assumptions don’t change, we will keep committing the same mistakes. These assumptions include that dialogue can resolve all differences, and that war is too irrational for anyone to deploy. This is why the Indian decision-makers should ask themselves the following questions: Why has India’s China policy been such a failure? Why did the informal summits not resolve anything after the Doklam confrontation? The questions are yet to be answered or addressed to.

6. Constant attack on freedom on press

The India media is gasping for breath. It has hardly any freedom in Modi’s India. It’s not just the Covid-19 virus but also the State that targeted journalists during the national lockdown with arrests, custodial torture, FIRs and show-cause notices, according to a report that documented at least 55 media persons facing the brunt of their work. The report ‘India: Media’s Crackdown during COVID-19 Lockdown’ said that 55 journalists “faced arrest, registration of FIRs, summons or show-causes notices, physical assaults, alleged destruction of properties and threats for reportage or exercising freedom of opinion and expression during the national lockdown” between March 25 and May 31. Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 11 journalists facing action followed by Jammu and Kashmir, five in Himachal Pradesh and four each in Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha and Maharashtra. This is a huge shame for the country at the international level.

The RSS is a Hindu-nationalist social movement with close ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his BJP. India’s free press once played a crucial role in protecting this country’s democracy since its independence from Britain in 1947. But journalists here now feel under attack.

Since Modi came to power in 2014, they say, his government has tried to control the country’s news media, especially the airwaves, like no other prime minister in decades. Modi has shrewdly cultivated the media to build a cult of personality that portrays him as the nation’s selfless savior. At the same time, senior government officials have pressed news outlets — berating editors, cutting off advertising, ordering tax investigations — to ignore the uglier side of his party’s campaign to transform India from a tolerant, religiously diverse country into an assertively Hindu one.

It is high time to learn from these incident and make a way to improve things. India must restore its global image because in today’s world, no nation can sustain independently. If India is shunned down by more and more neighbours and by its Western friends for these drawbacks, it will futher damage the country’s fate.

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