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By Muhammad Burhan
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Indian Diaspora in Fear: The BJP's Role to Muzzle Dissenting Voices

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The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Indian government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has increasingly been accused of suppressing dissent and crafting a Hindu nationalist state. A recent report by US-based Vox Media brings to light the troubling case of Kashmiri journalist Raqib Naik, who, even after seeking refuge in the United States, continues to face harassment and intimidation orchestrated by the Indian government. This article delves into Naik’s story and the broader implications of the BJP’s efforts to silence critics both within India and abroad.
The BJP government’s systematic harassment of journalists like Raqib Naik serves as a stark example of its efforts to suppress critical voices. Naik’s experiences highlight a broader trend of intimidation and censorship aimed at stifling free press and independent reporting in India. Journalists who dare to speak out against the government face a barrage of legal and extralegal pressures designed to silence them. Naik, known for his incisive reporting on human rights abuses in Kashmir, has been a particular target. His articles, which shed light on the grim realities faced by the Kashmiri people, have drawn the ire of the Indian government, leading to a sustained campaign of harassment and intimidation against him. The Indian government’s tactics extend beyond journalists themselves, targeting their families to create a climate of fear. The harassment of Naik’s father, even after Naik fled to the US, underscores the lengths to which the government will go to silence dissent. By targeting family members, the government not only exerts pressure on the journalist but also sends a threatening message to others who might consider speaking out. This strategy of intimidation is designed to break the will of critics by attacking their most vulnerable points and their close ones. In Naik’s case, his father’s experiences reflect a broader pattern of familial harassment that has become all too common in India under BJP rule.
Naik’s case illustrates the BJP’s reach in persecuting critics internationally. The anonymous threats and surveillance Naik faced in the US reveal a disturbing pattern of transnational repression, where the Indian government attempts to silence critics beyond its borders. This phenomenon is not unique to Naik, also other Indian journalists and activists living abroad have reported similar experiences. The BJP’s ability to extend its repressive tactics internationally is facilitated by a network of supporters and sympathizers who operate in various countries. This global reach allows the Indian government to maintain pressure on its critics, no matter where they seek refuge.
Raqib Naik has faced hateful messages and threats on social media, which shows the kind of digital harassment many people encounter when they criticize the BJP. This online abuse is part of a planned effort to scare and discredit those who speak out. By filling their social media with insults, threats, and false information. Naik’s situation highlights a bigger problem where the internet is used to control the narrative and silence dissent. This kind of cyberbullying is not only mentally harmful but also poses real dangers to those targeted.
The pervasive fear among critics in India, as revealed by Vox Media, points to a significant erosion of democratic norms under BJP rule. This climate of fear stifles open debate and discussion, essential components of a healthy democracy. The BJP’s broader agenda appears to be the marginalization of dissenting voices, particularly from minority communities like Muslims. By creating an environment where speaking out against the government can lead to severe repercussions, the BJP effectively curtails freedom of expression and undermines the democratic foundations of the country. The fear is not unfounded; many critics have faced arrest, violence, and even death, further entrenching the culture of silence and compliance. The involvement of the FBI in Naik’s case, meeting with him to discuss his safety, highlights the severity of the threats against him. It also indicates international concern about India’s attempts to silence its critics and the implications for freedom of speech globally. The FBI’s intervention is a significant development, suggesting that the threats faced by Naik are taken seriously by US authorities. This also shows that India’s actions are affecting people in other countries, like the US. The international community needs to respond to such actions to hold governments accountable and protect basic human rights.
The BJP-led Indian government’s campaign to suppress critical voices, as exemplified by the harassment of journalist Raqib Naik, is a grave threat to democracy and freedom of expression. It’s time to hold the BJP-led government accountable for its actions. The international community, along with Indian civil society, must unite to protect the fundamental rights of journalists, activists, and minority communities. Ensuring that democracy and justice prevail requires concerted efforts to push back against the repressive measures employed by the BJP. This can be achieved through various means, including diplomatic pressure, legal challenges, and public awareness campaigns. The solidarity of global voices in condemning these actions can help create a safer environment for those who dare to speak out against injustices. Additionally, supporting independent journalism and human rights organizations is vital in sustaining the fight for truth and accountability.

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