In an open letter, 75 UK and Europe-based academics have expressed their concern and dread of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Narendra Modi becoming the next Prime Minister of India.
"We are deeply concerned at the implications of a Narendra Modi-led BJP Government for democracy, pluralism and human rights in India," The Independent quoted the academics, who were of foreign and Indian origin, as saying.
Describing Modi as someone deeply embedded in the Hindu Nationalist movement, which has a history of inciting violence against minorities, the academics said the Gujarat riots of 2002 was an example of what could happen across the country should Modi occupy the Prime Minister's chair after the counting of votes on May 16. They reiterated that the violence in Gujarat occurred under Modi's watch, and added that senior government and police officials had provided testimony of his alleged role in encouraging or permitting it to occur. They said that the authoritarian nature of Modi could only weaken Indian democracy.
On the economic front, the academics said that the Modi-BJP model of growth, which involves a close linking of government with big business, and a generous transfer of public resources to the wealthy and powerful, could harm the poor.
A Modi victory would likely mean greater moral policing, especially of women, increased censorship and vigilantism, and more tensions with India's neighbours, they said.
Among the academics who wrote the open letter , which published in the daily on Wednesday, were (1)Prof. Chetan Bhatt, London School of Economics, (2)Dr. Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick, (3)Dr. Murad Banaji, University of Portsmouth, (4)Dr. Leena Kumarappan, London Metropolitan University, (5)Dr. Subir Sinha, School of Oriental and African Studies, (6)Prof. Phiroze Vasunia, University College London, (7)Prof. Srirupa Roy, University of Göttingen, (8)Prof. Shirin Rai, University of Warwick, (9)Dr. Kalpana Wilson, London School of Economics and (10)Dr. Sumi Madhok, London School of Economics, besides others.