As a lethal virus scorches its way across continents, the leftwing Indian rights campaigner Gautam Navlakha has been reminding us of the words of Leonard Cohen, urging people to speak up for the right things: “There is a crack/a crack in everything, that’s how light gets in.” While many of us experience lockdown in varying degrees of constraint, Navlakha – who cited Cohen’s lyrics in a recent statement – faces actual incarceration as does another high-profile Indian, the eminent academic and Dalit intellectual Prof Anand Teltumbde.
Meanwhile, Siddharth Varadarajan, the well-known journalist and a founder-editor of the respected investigative online portal the Wire, faces prosecution in an unrelated case. While locking down its vast population from coronavirus, why is India seeking to lock up dissident intellectuals and intimidate journalists?
The three men have been accused of outrages ranging from assassination plots to promoting “enmity, hatred or illwill among classes” – allegations that have been widely criticised as politically motivated. But their apparent common crime is one that underlies the harassment and intimidation of scores of other journalists, writers, academics and human rights campaigners in India. They have criticised the actions of the hardline Hindu nationalist dispensation that rules India today, as well as the culture of divisive bigotry that it has fostered widely in civil society.…
Specks of thought that yearn for freedom – By Salil Tripathi (Apr 15, 2020, Live Mint)
Amartya Sen on The Wire, the Police and Beyond – By Amartya Sen (Apr 15, 2020, The Wire)
Coronavirus Has Deepened The Worst Tendencies Of Indian Governance – Siddharth Varadarajan with Betwa Sharma (Apr 15, 2020, HuffPost)
‘Democracy More Contagious than the Virus’: India’s Crackdown on Activists Continues – By Sumedha Pal (Apr 18, 2020, News Click)