Exactly 21 months into Modi’s ‘first term’, to ask if a 1975-like proclamation is required is merely academic. As hoodlums on campuses dictate what we can debate and discuss, as hooligans in courts tell us it is a crime to disagree and dissent, and as thugs on streets (and on TV screens) test our patriotism, you can draw only one conclusion on which direction the nation is headed: south. Sadly, Atal Behari Vajpayee is in no condition to remind today’s rulers of their ‘raj dharma’, but this brazen attempt to divide Indian from Indian by making suspicion the bedrock of citizenship is either a sign of desperation or bankruptcy of ideas. The prime minister might yet have a solid rationale on why he allowed this old bottle to be uncorked so loudly, but it is unlikely to please those planning to pop the champagne in London, New York or Tokyo in celebration of his acumen.
News therefore that this regime is planning to set up a special media cell to track and counter “negative and provocative” news and comments should surprise nobody who has lived through censorship. When a fake tweet, a fake photo and a fake video can have such high returns, who would want to let reality bite into the hype?