Modi a threat to democracy, say Indian-origin academics

Modi a threat to democracy, say Indian-origin academics

A group of Indian-origin academics in Britain has slammed the BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for his authoritarian nature which they said can only weaken India's democracy.

Around 75 academics from universities across Britain, led by Chetan Bhatt of the London School of Economics, Tuesday expressed their collective concern over the upcoming government in India, through a letter, titled 'The idea of Modi in power fills us with dread' to The Independent newspaper in Britain. 

Among others in the group are Oxford University's Nandini Gooptu and Cambridge University's Joya Chatterji.

"We are deeply concerned at the implications of a Narendra Modi-led BJP government for democracy, pluralism and human rights in India," the group said in the letter. 

Commenting on the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's agenda of development for the 2014 general elections, it said that "the Modi-BJP model of economic growth involves close linking of government with big business, generous transfer of public resources to the wealthy and powerful, and measures harmful to the poor".

The letter said the BJP's prime ministerial candidate has been embedded in the Hindu nationalist movement, namely the RSS and other Sangh Parivar groups, with their history of inciting violence against minorities. 

Referring to Modi's alleged role in the 2002 Godhra riots in Gujarat, the academics said: "This violence occurred under Modi's rule, and senior government and police officials have provided testimony of his alleged role in encouraging or permitting it to occur."

"He has never apologised for hate speech or contemptuous comments about various groups - including Muslims, Christians, women and Dalits. His closest aide has been censured recently by India's Election Commission for hate speech used in this election campaign," it added.

The group contended that a Modi-led BJP government would lead to greater moral policing, especially of women, increased censorship and vigilantism, and more tensions with India's neighbours.

The rest of the academics are part of other leading British educational, including the University of Warwick, the University of Portsmouth, the London Metropolitan University, the School of Oriental and African Studies and University College London, the University of Göttingen, the University of Manchester, the University of Central Lancashire, the University of London, the University of Wolverhampton, the University of Edinburgh, the University of East London, Oxford Brookes University, the University of the Arts London, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, King's College London, the University of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch University, the University of Westminster, the Glasgow Caledonian University,  the University of Birmingham, and Durham University.

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