Akanksha Singh

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Catholic priests and nuns hold placards during an October protest against the arrest of the Rev. Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest, in Secunderabad, India.

On July 5, the Rev. Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old Jesuit priest, passed away in a hospital in a suburb of Mumbai. Swamy spent nearly nine months in jail, without trial, under an Indian anti-terrorism law. Despite living with Parkinson's disease and having contracted Covid-19 in prison, he was denied bail.

His death was cruel -- and likely preventable. The blame lies with Indian authorities as much as it does with everyday Indians who looked on, wondering -- silently -- how this would end. The government has said that Swamy's detention was "following due process of the law" and that he was allowed medical treatment at a private hospital where he received "all possible medical attention."…  Seguir leyendo »

On April 20, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the country following a surge in Covid-19 cases. People were expecting answers, a plan, something. Instead, Modi said he felt the pain of the nation but opted not to instate a nationwide lockdown, which several states had already initiated by the time of his address. He also encouraged young people to form neighborhood watch committees to ensure people were following Covid-19 protocols.

Other than that, there were no plans. Just more hollow words.

On Saturday, India reported more than 400,000 new cases, the highest single-day figure of any country. As images of mass cremation sites, overcrowded hospitals and people gasping for air continue to overwhelm our social media feeds and news, one thing became apparent: People are on their own like never before.…  Seguir leyendo »

For decades following World War II, the free world has looked to the United States for democratic and civil guidance. So, when President Trump wrapped up his two-day visit to India in February and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India's "religious freedom" following Hindu-Muslim riots in parts of the capital, it didn't just feel like Indian democracy was crumbling further; it felt as though it had got the go ahead from a global superpower.

"We did talk about religious freedom, and I will say that the prime minister was incredible on what he told me," Trump said while announcing a $3 billion trade deal with India at a press conference in New Delhi on February 25.…  Seguir leyendo »

Protestors hold up their signs at the Gowali Tank Maidan in Mumbai.

Across India, people are protesting the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act, (CAA) after the bill was passed in both the country's upper and lower houses of Parliament. The CAA grants fast-tracked citizenship to undocumented migrants from the "Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian community from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, who entered into India on or before the 31st day of December, 2014".
Muslims are left out

The government's informal reasoning here is that the countries listed in the CAA are Muslim-majority countries. Minority religions, who are more likely to face persecution in their home countries, therefore deserve fast-tracked citizenship.…  Seguir leyendo »