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Indian leaders fail to understand danger of new IT rules

Critics cite future threats to country's role as 'world's largest democracy'

A West Bengal campaign rally in April. Indian elections are generally seen as free and fair, but critics say civil rights are under threat.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- While the recent Group of Seven summit meeting invited India as a member of the club of democracies to counter autocratic forces led by China and Russia, the behavior of the current Indian government at home belies international confidence.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was less than pleased last year with online criticism of its actions amid protests against farm law reforms. The BJP frequently attacks opponents on Twitter and other online platforms, accusing them of spreading "fake news." Modi's government has even detained opposition politicians, activists and journalists on sedition charges over social media posts.

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