India Has Turned Into Electoral Autocracy, Censorship Has Become Routine, Says V-Dem Institute

Team Latestly
·2-min read

New Delhi, March 11: India has turned into an "electoral autocracy", according to a report from Sweden-based V-Dem Institute. In the report, India has been classified as an "electoral autocracy" alongside Hungary and Turkey because of "restrictions on multiple facets of democracy" such as civil society groups and free speech in the country. The report also observed that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) closely resembles a "typical governing party in an autocracy". India's Status Declines From 'Free' to 'Partly Free' in Freedom House's 'The World Report 2021', Global Freedom Score Reduces from 71 to 67.

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"The world’s largest democracy turned into an electoral autocracy: India with 1.37 billion citizens," the report stated. India was previously categorised as an "electoral democracy". In the context of censorship, the report said "India is now as autocratic as is Pakistan, and worse than both its neighbours Bangladesh and Nepal". It also said, after the BJP came to power and Narendra Modi became Prime Minister, the government is "routinely" using laws to "silence" critics. Global Hunger Index 2020: India Ranks 94 in List; Experts Blame Poor Implementation, Siloed Approach.

"In general, the Modi-led government in India has used laws on sedition, defamation, and counterterrorism to silence critics. For example, over 7,000 people have been charged with sedition after the BJP assumed power and most of the accused are critics of the ruling party," read the report. Hence, the report said, India saw a 23-percentage point drop on its 0-to-1 Liberal Democracy Index (LDI) scale.

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Founded by Swedish political scientist Staffan Lindberg, the V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy) Institute is an independent research organisation that produces its annual report on the state of democracy in countries around the world. This report comes days after the annual report by US-based Freedom House on global political rights and liberties, which declared India a "partly free" nation.