In hounding dissent, India is just as rotten as China

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Daredevil, Nov 3, 2011.

  1. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2009
    Messages:
    11,613
    Likes Received:
    5,670
    In hounding dissent, India is just as rotten as China


    A high-profile activist, who has a large following in civil society, carries on a very public campaign exposing the government’s many failings.

    When his campaign begins drawing a little too much unflattering attention towards the government, authorities have him arrested.

    Under public pressure, he is subsequently released, but to muzzle him, the government initiates tax cases against him —and serves him a big penalty notice.

    The most striking thing about this narrative is that it happened not in one country, but in two – India and China – which, despite their vastly different political and social systems, share one attribute: the way their governments hound and selectively harass dissenters for standing up to them.

    In China, dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who is seen as China’s conscience-keeper for the way he has been confronting the naked authoritarianism of the Chinese Communist party, has been slapped with a 15 million yuan ($2.3 million) tax notice on charges that he evaded taxes.

    Ai, an internationally renowned artist who designed the Olympic stadium in Beijing and who hails from a distinguished revolutionary family, was arrested in April. After being held in detention without charge for 81 days, he was released on condition that he not speak to the international media, with whom he enjoys an Arundhati Roy-esque celebrity status.

    In the time since he was released, Ai has been charged with “economic crimes”— principally that he evaded taxes on his design company. On Tuesday, he received two notifications summarily directing him to pay the back taxes and penalty within 15 days.

    Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi and Ai Weiwei in these photos. AFP and AP image
    Beyond the merits and demerits of the tax case, the move is widely perceived as an unvarnished attempt to muzzle the high-profile activist for challenging the government on a range of issues — from censorship to crackdowns on civil liberties to its unwillingness to fully account for the deaths of thousands of schoolchildren in an earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008.

    The attempt by Chinese authorities to turn the heat on an activist in order to silence him has an eerie echo in India, where the Dirty Tricks Department of the Congress has come up with ever more inventive ways to target Arvind Kejriwal and other anti-corruption activists banded together under Anna Hazare‘s leadership.

    As with Ai, Kejriwal has been served with a notice penalising him for not serving out his contract with the government, from which he sought voluntary retirement in order to become an activist. Plus there’s the matter of a loan he took from the government, and the accumulated interest thereon.

    Again, the merits (or otherwise) of the case are not easy to establish: Kejriwal initially contested the claim, but has since said that he will pay up — so that he can devote mindspace to his campaign for the Lokpal Bill without distractions.

    It is nobody’s case that due process of law shouldn’t be invoked in cases where (as in Ai’s case) there has been suspected tax evasion or (in Kejriwal’s case) service rules must be enforced. Yet, the vigour with which both the governments have gone after dissenters tells its own story of overzealous governments out to fix those who step out of line and challenge them.

    In Kejriwal’s case, the pettiness extends to selectively targeting his wife, an income tax official on deputation to the Serious Fraud Investigation Office. (Details here.) Perhaps unnerved by her serving in the Serious Fraud Investigation Office at a time when her husband is publicly campaigning against corruption in high places, busybodies are trying to heave her out citing a technicality.

    Likewise, after the controversy surrounding Kiran Bedi’s travel bills surfaced, her NGO is being investigated by the finance ministry. Officials claim that they are not targeting Bedi, but that the investigation will cover several other NGOs, but the timing of such a move is a dead giveaway.

    Even Anna Hazare is feeling the heat, with the CBI on his tail investigating allegations that funds were siphoned off from an NGO that he runs.

    On the other hand, the Congress’ primary megaphone has no qualms about issuing character certificates to even those who have been charge-sheeted in mega-scams.

    The message is starkly clear: don’t lift up your head and challenge us. We have the power to overwhelm you with a thousand petty investigations and spurious claims.

    Be it China or India, the venal immorality of those who wield absolute power and invoke it to crush the feeblest of dissenters is breathtakingly similar.

    ==========

    Totally agree with this assessment. The UPA govt. has left no stone unturned to witch-hunt Anna and his Team members as the Congress is feeling the heat of the anti-corruption movement gathering the mass. The UPA need to be taught a lesson at each and every stage whenever elections takes place in states or the centre.
     
    Singh, Naren1987 and trackwhack like this.
  2.  
  3. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2011
    Messages:
    14,140
    Likes Received:
    8,528
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    This would be business as usual for the IRS in my country.:-(
     
  4. thakur_ritesh

    thakur_ritesh Administrator Administrator

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    4,434
    Likes Received:
    1,719
    Location:
    Land of the GODS - "Dev Bhomi".
    i would imagine almost everyone in power likes doing it, it is how they muzzle opposition and love to keep the status quo. see how assange is being made to shut.

    india is no different, but that doesnt mean the people give up. they need to fight.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    After all the unearthing of the scams and the wide exposure, and with the RTI somewhat effective, the Govt is tossing like a rudderless ship in stormy waters.

    With the country up in arms, so to say, what else can the buffeted and exposed govt looking rotten to the core, do?

    Even the Court Jester Digvijay Singh is proving to be a real clown and not a put on clown.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,117
    Likes Received:
    23,545
    Location:
    Somewhere
    What is important is the IDEA of fighting corruption and the bureaucratic bullies.

    Team Anna is only a beacon and individuals don't matter except that they are voicing the citizens' concern.

    If they are guilty of misdemeanour, let law take its course.

    Indeed, the Team must be purer than driven snow or else they have no credibility says the Govt and camp followers. And of that there is no doubt.

    However, at the same time, let the agencies also investigate all those who claim so since they should also be purer than driven snow since they are the representatives of the People.
     
  7. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    4,552
    :pound:

    If indeed India was like china then anna and his minions would have been shot in the back of the head long time ago.
     
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  8. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,093
    Likes Received:
    3,895
    Location:
    Delhi
    India is also under dictatorship of Gandhi family for last 64 years with few years of exceptional. We may be better on various parameters but on many issues, I find no difference vis-a-vis China.
     
  9. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    4,552
    So democracy is also dictatorship if one party keeps on winning ?

    If Indians dont vote for them then they dont rule.
     
  10. Galaxy

    Galaxy Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2011
    Messages:
    7,093
    Likes Received:
    3,895
    Location:
    Delhi
    Democracy is best for developed nation like U.S.A., Japan, U.K, etc.

    Still overall good for developing country like India on many issues. But sometime Democracy doesn't serve the purpose in politics and then development, economy, social welfare, etc.

    For example: 100 illiterate votes matter more than 50 educated and intellectual class people. Lalu Yadav ruled Bihar for 15 years and destroyed all the economic and social welfare system. People vote to honest Congress M.P. but country is ruled by corrupt leader at centre. There are many drawbacks. May be we need few more decades to get mature to make best use of democracy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2011
  11. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    4,552
    Of course there are drawbacks.

    But still democracy is best we've got. With different regions and diversity if we had a mad dictator ruling us then we'd a circus right now.
     

Share This Page