Civicus Monitor, an international alliance of civil society organisations, has downgraded Indias civic space rating from obstructed to repressed in its new People Power Under Attack report for 2019, citing its extreme concern about the crackdown on human rights activists, attacks on journalists and civil society groups, and the lockdown in Jammu and Kashmir.
A repressed rating indicates that democratic freedoms such as the freedoms of expression, peaceful assembly and association are significantly constrained. Thirty-eight countries are in the category, including Pakistan, Iraq, Turkey, Nigeria and Brunei.
The Modi government seems to be turning its back on civic freedoms by going after its critics including activists and journalists, said Josef Benedict, one of the organisations researchers. The deterioration of Indias civic space is alarming particularly its assault on freedom of expression using an array of restrictive laws and its attempts to impede human rights groups.
The organisation said it had been a tense year for the Indian civil society. The government has used restrictive laws such as the National Security Act and Unlawful Activities Prevention Act to harass, detain and criminalise opponents, it said, citing the example of the legal proceedings against academic and writer Anand Teltumbde, who was investigated for his alleged connection with violence that broke...