V-Dem (Varieties Of Democracy) Institute is an independent research based organization at the University of Gothenburg. V-Dem has produced the largest dataset on democracies of around 202 countries from 1789 to 2020.
This report by Sweden-based V-Dem Institute is the fifth annual democracy report titled “Autocratisation goes viral” has stated that India has downgraded from the ‘World’s Largest Democracy” to an “Electoral Autocracy”, quoting overuse of sedition laws , defamation and gaging of media.
This V-Dem report is coming just within a week of “Freedom In The World” report by US Watchdog Freedom House, which downgraded India’s status to “Partly Free”, this V-Dem report is coming just within a week.
V-Dem’s report stated the 68% of the world’s population lives under autocratic regimes and India is among the leading countries going through ‘Third Wave Of Autocrastisation’.
The report further stated that defamation is used frequently to silence the journalists and restrictions have been placed on civil society using Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
“UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) amendment passed in August 2019, is being used to harass, frighten and imprison political opponents, also people mobilizing to protest government policies. It also has been used to silence dissent in academia.” the report said.
“Universities and authorities have also punished students and activists in universities engaging in protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).” stated the report.
The report also said, “In this respect, India is now as autocratic as Pakistan and worse than both its neighbors Bangladesh and Nepal. “
“The laws on sedition, defamation and counterterrorism such as UAPA acts has been used by BJP, the Modi-led government. After BJP took on power, more than 7000 people have been charged with sedition and most of them are critics of the ruling party.” the report added.