The Guardian view on Modi’s 100 days: trashing lives and the constitution | Editorial

The Indian prime minister is being feted in the west. But he is arbitrarily curbing the human rights and civil liberties of minorities on a vast scale

This week India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, clocked up 100 days in office in his second term. Mr Modi has chosen to govern much as he did his first term – as a rightwing populist on behalf of the majority Hindu population at the expense of the rights of minorities, especially Muslims, in his vast country. He dominates his nation’s politics: in May he became the first prime minister since 1971 to win majorities in parliament in back-to-back elections. He also dominates his Bharatiya Janata party, with a third of voters who supported the ruling coalition saying they would have voted for another party if Mr Modi had not been leader. Yet he has ruled rashly and in his party’s narrow interest, keeping the electorate aroused with nationalist delusions that only he can protect India from its rival, Pakistan, and the majority community from “fifth columnists”.

India risks becoming an ethnic democracy with an implied two-tiered citizenship. It is not one yet. However, in deed Mr Modi gives the impression that this is desirable. This month almost 2 million people living in Assam, a state in north-eastern India, have been left at risk of statelessness because they cannot prove they arrived there before Bangladesh declared independence from Pakistan in March 1971 in special courts that, says Amnesty, are “shoddy and lackadaisical”. No one is sure how many Indians who have been declared “foreigners” are Muslims. The evidence suggests many are. Mr Modi’s right-hand man called them “infiltrators” and “termites”, who ought to be thrown “into the Bay of Bengal”.

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Source : The Guardian view on Modi’s 100 days: trashing lives and the constitution | Editorial