Many in India believe it is. Even many living outside believe so.
But is it really so? Is India a really free Country to all its citizens? Is there freedom in India to criticise the Government? Is there freedom in India to question the atrocities of the State? Is there freedom in India for a poor Indian woman to register a complaint of rape?
The following 3 news items made me ask these questions.
India deports radio broadcaster David Barsamian upon arrival at Delhi airport
David Barsamian, founder director of Alternative Radio, and independent radio legend, was deported on arrival from New Delhi airport in the early hours of Sept 23.
In a statement, Mr. Barsamian said that he was detained almost immediately upon presentation of his passport to the immigration authorities who told him that he was banned from entering India. “To date I have received no official explanation,”. He had planned to interview Binayak Sen on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday on October 2 and also planned a visit to Kashmir and other places
Noted authors, journalists, academicians, lawyers and filmmakers have strongly protested against the denial of entry into India to David Barsamian.
“The deportation of David Barsamian unfortunately mirrors the manner in which Professor Richard Shapiro was arbitrarily stopped from entering India in November 2010. We are dismayed that this power to send people back from the airport is slowly becoming a weapon, used to discipline and silence people who draw any kind of attention to uncomfortable truths about India,” eminent intellectuals said in their protest letter on Thursday
SHO In UP Rapes Gang rape Victim, Girl Disappears
Lucknow, Sep 26: A farmer’s teen aged daughter gang raped in Mahoba, UP, has disappeared after she was raped by the Station House Officer in the police station, Times of India reported.
It all began on June 19, when the teen aged daughter of a farmer from Atghar village under Khanna police station disappeared.On August 9, she returned home to narrate how she was kidnapped by two youths, Rahul and Maniram, and raped over a dozen times during her confinement.On August 10, the victim and her father reached the Khanna police station in Mahoba to lodge a complaint.
Senior sub-inspector Deepak Pandey, also the station house officer, arrived after a long wait.After quizzing the victim for almost an hour, he allegedly asked the girl’s father to leave telling him that the girl would have to stay back as her statements were to be recorded.
The next afternoon, the girl reached home and told her father that she was raped again by Pandey.The shocked family then approached senior police officers of the district, but nothing happened.The family then approached a lawyer and sent complaints to the Chief Minister, Director General of Police and the National Commission for Women.
Modi government arrests Sanjiv Bhatt
He dared to take on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi head on and now finds himself behind bars. Bhatt, who had implicated Gujarat CM Narendra Modi in the 2002 riots, has been arrested by the Gandhinagar police.
Mr. Bhatt’s arrest comes within 48 hours of his having filed another affidavit, this time in the Gujarat High Court, alleging the indirect involvement of the Chief Minister and his former Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, in the murder of another former Minister Haren Pandya. Mr. Bhatt had claimed that Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah had repeatedly asked him to destroy some “very important documentary evidence” regarding Mr. Pandya’s murder, but he refused to oblige them, following which he was transferred from the post of Superintendent of the Sabarmati Central Jail and kept without any posting for over two and half months in November 2003.
Soon after his arrest, Mr. Bhatt was taken to an undisclosed destination for interrogation.
His arrest was condemned by human rights activists who said it was “yet another instance of fascism thriving in the State.
My answer to the above questions is an unequivocal NO.
India may be a free country for those who play by the rules of the powerful.
But for someone who wants to paint a true picture of India,
or who wants to question the atrocities of the ruling Mafia,
or even who wants to file a genuine complaint about rape,
India is not a free country. You will be either deported,put in jail or raped again.