‘Can we ignore the fact that India is going through a serious crisis under Modi’s leadership, with increasing attacks on human rights activists, NGOs and journalists?’
New Delhi | Published 15.07.23, 04:44 AM
French President Emmanuel Macron is drawing criticism in France for inviting Prime Minister Narendra Modi to be the chief guest at the July 14 Bastille Day military parade that marks the “triumph of freedom and the democratic will of the people”.
Reason: India’s “authoritarian drift” since 2014.
“Indian PM’s appearance as guest of honor at Bastille Day parade ignores Narendra Modi’s damning record on human rights,” said an op-ed piece in a leading French daily. Lee Monde Thursday, the day Modi landed in Paris.
The article titled “Narendra Modi has fueled decades of state-sponsored violence” added: “India’s hardline Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the guest of French President Emmanuel Macron at the Bastille Day parade…. Can we ignore the fact that India is going through a serious crisis under Modi’s leadership, with increasing attacks on human rights activists, NGOs and journalists?
“In any event, Emmanuel Macron and his diplomatic corps have made their decision. The complexity between the two leaders is clear. According to the French Foreign Ministry, France and India are ‘connected by common values’ and ‘a shared attachment to democracy’. Common language, detached from reality.
“India, the most populous country on the planet, is often awarded the prestigious title of the world’s largest democracy; France, the country of human rights. Two titles that are equally detached from reality today.”
On the day Modi arrived in Paris, state-owned television network France 24 ran a piece titled “Arms, not democratic values, Macron on parade hosts India’s Modi on Bastille Day”.
It said: “French President Emmanuel Macron has rolled out the red carpet for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian leader has been selected as the guest of honor for the Bastille Day military parade on July 14 this year. But critics warn that France is sending the wrong message by ignoring rights abuses and democratic backsliding under Modi.
While the Biden administration was pressed to raise human rights issues with Modi during his recent state visit, criticism of inviting the Indian prime minister to France has intensified.
The article states: “Modi’s Bastille Day privilege has raised questions in France, particularly over the human rights track record of his Hindu nationalist administration. In an op-ed in the French daily Libération, politicians from the Green Party, as well as officials from the leftist Nupes coalition, condemned Macron’s choice of guest-of-honor.
“While acknowledging the importance of geo-strategic ties and bilateral ties, the column noted that it would be either completely ignorant of the current domestic political context in the subcontinent, or completely insane, to receive Mr. Modi as the guest of honor of the French Republic on the most symbolic day of the year”.
This narrative has been going on ever since the tour was announced. A month ago, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, head of the hard-left opposition party La France Insumés, tweeted: “# India is a friendly country. But its Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a very right-wing and violent enemy of Muslims in his country. He #14 Juliet (Bastile Day), The equality of liberty is not welcome in the celebration of the fraternity which he despises.”
Reuters French rights group Ligue des Droits de l’Homme (LDH) said on Twitter that “concerned about India’s authoritarian turn, the LDH condemns this invitation which sends a disastrous signal denying our democratic values”.
The Associated Press described Macron’s act of rolling out the red carpet for Modi as “a smear campaign”.
Reuters reports: “Ten people, including renowned economist Thomas Piketty and former French ambassador to Denmark Frans Zimmer, urged Macron in an op-ed in Le Monde newspaper on Thursday to ‘encourage Prime Minister Modi to end his crackdown on civil society. , ensure freedom of mainstream media (outlets) and protect religious freedom.
All these articles detail the prime minister’s public life, particularly his track record on human rights and media and religious freedom.
(TagstoTranslation)Narendra Modi(T)Emmanuel Macron(T)Bastile Day(T)Prime Minister