Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram attacked the BJP-ruled centre on Thursday, accusing it of undermining the country's constitutional institutions and chipping away at its democratic values over the last two years. The former Union Minister also held the government responsible for India slipping 10 places in the global democracy index, saying that "those who are in power" are the real "Tukde-Tukde" gang.
"Tukde-Tukde gang" is a term often used by right-wing parties to attack the Left-backed groups and their supporters. It was coined in 2016 after anti-national slogans were allegedly raised at an event in Delhi's prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University. The Union Home Ministry recently responded to a query under the Right To Information Act, saying it had no information on its existence.
"India has slipped 10 places in the Democracy Index. Anyone who has closely observed the events of the last two years knows that democracy has been eroded and democratic institutions have been debilitated those who are in power are the real 'tukde-tukde' gang," P Chidambaram tweeted.
"The world is alarmed by the direction INDIA is taking. Every patriotic INDIAN should be alarmed too," he added.
Anyone who has closely observed the events of the last two years knows that democracy has been eroded and democratic institutions have been debilitated those who are in power are the real ‘tukde tukde' gang.— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) January 23, 2020
India dropped to the 51st position in the Democracy Index 2019 - a list of the most and least democratic countries in the world - said The Economist Intelligence Unit, a news and general affairs publication, in its annual report, released on Wednesday.
Expressing concern over the "discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act", the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and the controversial NRC (national register of citizens) , the Economist cited "democratic regression (in) erosion of civil liberties" as a major reason in awarding a score of 6.9 on 10 - its lowest since the index was first published in 2006.
The centre is facing nationwide protests over the CAA, which for the first time in India makes religion a criterion for getting citizenship. The government says it will provide citizenship to persecuted minorities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. Critics say the law is unconstitutional and is designed to target Muslims.
In Jammu and Kashmir, strict restrictions were placed on August 5 last year, when the centre announced its mega decisions- revoking special status to the state and bifurcating it into two union territories. Mobile and internet services were blocked and several politicians were either arrested or detained.
Over the months, the centre has eased some restrictions; last week it restored pre-paid mobile services. Several leaders, including three former chief ministers of the erstwhile state, are still under detention.
The Congress had opposed the centre's Kashmir move, saying stakeholders were not consulted. It is also against the CAA and has called it unconstitutional. Several Congress-ruled state governments have said they will not implement the law.