Wednesday, April 24

Arvind Kejriwal’s Arrest And YouTuber Dhruv Rathee’s Viral Take On Dictatorship In India

Edited by Kabani R

YouTuber and social media activist Dhruv Rathee opens his new video by asking, Is our country falling towards dictatorship? The arrest of the AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal without a money trail or conviction, the appointment of two of the three Election Commissioners (EC) appointed as per Prime Minister Modi’s wish, the disappearance of electoral bonds, the biggest scam the nation has witnessed from the media altogether, the freezing of Congress bank accounts that affected their election campaign, and the Income Tax department issuing Rs 1,700 crore notice to Congress all accelerate his concerns. Besides, as soon as opposition parties declare their candidature names, ED launches an investigation against them; for instance, as Shiva Sena (UBT) declared Amol Kirtikar’s candidacy, ED summons him in connection with his alleged involvement in the ‘khichdi’ scam.

In the new episode “Arvind Kejriwal Jailed! Dictatorship Confirmed?”, Dhruv Rathee explains the present political situation in the country and how the ruling government resorts to several oppressive measures to dismantle democratic functioning. Recent ones include the arrest of the AAP national convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Taking Arvind Kejriwal and the other three AAP leaders’ arrests in connection with the Delhi Excise Policy case, Dhruv Rathee says that though there is no evidence, the court is not granting them bail because of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) of 2018. The government’s amendment to the PMLA, “guilty until proven innocent,” makes it difficult to get bail and gives more power to the ED. Dhru Rathee also weaves an electoral bond scam in connection with Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest; Sarath Chandra Reddy, chief of Aurobindo Pharma Company and his donation of electoral bonds to BJP. He then lists the different tactics employed by the Centre to destroy Congress Party, which has been going on for months, starting a defamation case against senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in August 2023. “Every opposition party has been targeted like this,” You Tuber added. On the other hand, political leaders like Praful Patel and Naveen Jindal have been given clean chit from the cases associated with them once they joined the BJP.

Tracing the professional history of two newly appointed Election Commissioners, Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Sandhu Dhruv Rathee enquires: “Can we expect these Election Commissioners to conduct the Lok Sabha elections fairly? Only time will tell.” As per the new Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners (Appointment, Conditions of Service and Term of Office) Act, 2023, the Chief Justice of India has been excluded from the selection committee. The committee now consists of the Prime Minister, the leader of the opposition, and a minister appointed by the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, the opposition leader, Adhir Ranjan Chaudhary, claims that two ECs were appointed by PM Modi and Union Minister Amit Shah according to their discretion, and “proper procedure” was not followed during the appointment.  So Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Sandhu were the government’s choice. Dhru Rathee states that Gyanesh Kumar, a retired IAS officer, has worked under Amit Shah in the home ministry (2016–2021), and similarly, Sukhbir Sandhu, a retired IAS officer associated with the Ministry of Human Resource Development (2014–2023), is the is the chairperson of NHAI and the chief secretary of Uttarakhand. Besides, he cited Calcutta High Court Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay’s resignation and his joining of the BJP in the following days.

“The country is leaning towards dictatorship,” Dhruv Rathee stresses. He then points to the news reports of FIRs and arrests against people for pasting objectionable posters against the Prime Minister, and cases booked against the late journalist Pawan Jaiswal. As per the recent Democracy Report 2024, released by Sweden’s V-Dem Institute India has been placed under the category of “electoral autocracy,”  only two steps away from the dictatorship category. The Modi government has used sedition, defamation, and counter-terrorism to suppress “to silence critics,”  and Dhruv Rathee adds that the new ones on the list include the incorporation of new IT rules under the Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill 2023. The bill, therefore, confers powers to the government to crush voices in social media. If there’s no one to criticise, it does not mean democracy is thriving, Dhru Rathee says. In the end, he says that the “last hope” lies in the people of India; protecting Indian freedom and democracy is our duty. He then talked about the importance of raising voices and casting votes; “every vote counts,” he says.

Social media is flooding with positive and negative reactions towards Dhruv Rathee’s video. The screenshots of some of the comments are given below: