Fighting COVID has meant fighting several battles at the same time. We are fighting for hospital beds, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, injections and vaccines. We are also fighting against distress migration, job losses and growing and crippling economic insecurity, hunger and poverty. But there is another battle too that needs to be waged. The battle against widespread misinformation – cruel, cynical and deeply irresponsible and damaging misinformation campaigns targeting public health measures.
The debate in Bengal over the identification of the principal enemy has elicited a response from the CPI(M)’s mouthpiece. Let us examine the claims made by People’s Democracy.
The arrest of Disha Ravi, a 21-year-old activist working for environmental and social justice, is evidence that the Modi regime has all but thrown away democratic pretences and has openly embraced authoritarianism. Disha and other young women are the victims of a Delhi Police witch-hunt because they sought to mobilise domestic and international opinion in favour of India’s farmers protesting Modi’s three pro-corporate farm laws.
A protest “toolkit” is a set of materials a) explaining the key issue succinctly and addressing doubts and misinformation; b) suggesting what an individual person can do to support the cause; c) suggesting reading materials; d) offering drafts for letters to authorities asking them to support the cause or heed the demands of the protest; e) suggesting hashtags and so on for social media campaigns.
The Article-14 portal maintains a database on the sedition law for the last decade. Its analysis of the data is revealing. It found:
65% of nearly 11,000 individuals in 816 sedition cases since 2010 were implicated after 2014 when Modi took office. Among those charged with sedition: opposition politicians, students, journalists, authors and academics.
22 January was the 4th day of the 'We the People of Patna with Farmers' campaign organized under the banner if AIPF Patna. A orogram in support of the ongoing farmers' struggle against the 3 black farm laws was held at the Kankarbagh Sabji Mandi in Patna attended by a large number of members of civil society.