NEW DELHI—Speakers at a Jamaat-e-Islami Hind’s programme have expressed serious concerns over the downgrading of India’s status from ‘the world’s largest democracy’ to an ‘electoral autocracy’ and from a “Free Country” to a “Partly Free Country” in the international reports.
The remarks were made during a group discussion organised by JIH here on the theme of impact of the upcoming Assembly elections in five states and responsibilities of voters.
Initiating the discussion on the topic, JIH Secretary Malik Motasim Khan said that elections were very important to a democracy. “Through the elections, people can show their power by choosing their favourite representatives and rejecting the undesirable ones. The people use their voting power to correct their past mistakes and throw out incompetent representatives and this is a great opportunity for them,” he added.
Pointing out that elections were being now being used as a tool to divide people rather than unite them, JIH Secretary talked about the present atmosphere where sedition charges were being slapped on trivial matters, students and journalists were being put behind bars, people were facing troubles only for speaking out on the issues and even questions were being raised on judiciary.
Mr.Malik Motasim said, “The atmosphere created by some political parties in recent years, indicates that attempts are being made to disintegrate the people and the country under the guise of elections. This is very harmful for our country. Therefore, recent international reports have branded India as partly free which is heading toward the democratic autocracy.” He was referring to the annual report of Sweden’s V-Dem Institute, which has downgraded India from ‘the world’s largest democracy’ to an ‘electoral autocracy’ while just days before the US watchdog Freedom House’s report graded it from a “Free Country” to a “Partly Free Country”.
Expressing serious concerns over the international reports related to India, senior journalist Mr. Prashant Tandon said, “We can neither deny them, nor call them biased reports as the gravity of the situation of the country is obvious. The democracy is an institution that runs on the basis of public opinion. Raising issues before the voting is very important in forming a government. Instead of voting on issues like education, health, cleanliness, employment, human rights, development and industry, we vote in the name of religion and caste. Now the politics of polarization is being played on the basis of hatred for some years. This is not good for a democratic country. In such a situation, this is the prime responsibility of the citizens to be alert while voting, keeping in view the interest and development of the country and elect only honest representatives. After sending a representative to the Assembly or Parliament, do not sit idle for five years, but hold them accountable regularly for what they are doing for the country.”
Commenting on the upcoming assembly elections in five states, the senior journalist said, “The ‘corporate media’ is projecting that no party is fighting the assembly elections except BJP. In fact, BJP gets most of the seats from central and western regions of the country and the upcoming elections will be held in the eastern and southern India, where the saffron party has a little presence.”
On this occasion, Firdous Barbhoya from Assam, Imrul Quais from West Bengal and Meher Nowshad from Kerala discussed in details on the present political scenario in their respective poll-bound states.