‘Modi Makes His Bigotry Even Clearer’: New York Times Editorial

CAA is a “campaign by Mr Modi and his Home Minister, Amit Shah, to marginalise Muslims,” says The New York Times.

2 min read
CAA is a “campaign by Mr. Modi and his home minister, Amit Shah, to marginalize Muslims,” says The New York Times.

The Citizenship Amendment Act is a "campaign by Mr Modi and his Home Minister, Amit Shah, to marginalise Muslims and turn India into a homeland for Hindus," says an opinion published by The New York Times’ editorial board on 18 December 2019. The editorial, headlined ‘Modi Makes His Bigotry Even Clearer’ analyses the wave of protests in India over the last week and also criticises the government's decision to shut down the internet in parts of India.

Focusing on Home Minister Amit Shah "termites" comment about Muslim immigrants, the NYT editorial says, “Mr Shah has taken to demonising the primary target of the dragnets, Muslim migrants from Bangladesh”. The NYT editorial also takes into account anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests all over India and the government's reaction to them, calling them “furious protests” which have been “viciously repressed by the police and the army”. This, as anti-CAA protests flared up all over India on 19 December, despite Section 144 being imposed in many parts of India and protesters being detained, including prominent intellectuals like Ramachandra Guha and leaders like Sitaram Yechury.

‘CAA Patently Discriminatory & Threat to India’s Democracy’

The many internet shutdowns over the past few months in India also came under fire in the NYT editorial.

"The government has also shut down the internet in several regions, a tactic against dissent used by India more than any other authoritarian-leaning government in the world, claiming it is necessary to prevent violence and false rumours. Kashmir has been offline since August, and India is by far the world’s leader in the number of internet shutdowns."

The NYT editorial harks back to India's secular and democratic regions before concluding that PM Modi's hold on power "remains firm". However, the editorial cautions that “protests at home and abroad have demonstrated limits to how far Indians will allow him to go in pursuit of his Hindu-nationalist agenda". It also calls for democratic countries in the world to speak out against the Citizenship Amendment Act, if the Supreme Court allows the law to be put into place, calling the law "patently discriminatory and a threat to India’s democracy".

The anti-CAA protests have received critical coverage in international publications with The Washington Post calling the protests “potential tipping point towards authoritarianism” and The Guardian saying the law is “dangerous for all”.

This is not the first time that PM Modi has faced critical coverage in international publications. In October 2019, The Economist carried a lead story with the headline "Narendra Modi is damaging India’s economy as well as its democracy". In May 2019, PM Modi was on the cover of TIME magazine with an article by Aatish Taseer calling him "Divider-in-Chief".

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