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A Poor Understanding of Democracy

In another ludicrous blow to free speech and civil liberties, a group of European and American tourists have been told to leave the country because of their participation in Tibet protests in Uttarakhand. From the persecution of journalist Prashant Rahi to the inhuman imprisonment of Daniel Robinson last year, local officials of the Indian and state government are demonstrating an increasingly poor understanding of democracy. Below, is a Times of India editorial on the whole ordeal.

Hypocrites at Work
Times of India, May 29, 2008

The quit notice served on five foreigners who joined a Tibetan protest march shows Indian democracy in poor light.

The tourists, who are from the US and Europe, were served notices in Uttarakhand after they had taken part in a peaceful march organised by Tibetans. According to the government, the tourists had violated visa rules which forbid them from taking part in any “religious activity”. The government action smacks of hypocrisy.

The prohibition on religious activity by foreign tourists is to prevent them from propagating their religion and possibly converting people to their faith. Those who took part in the Tibetan march can hardly be accused of being involved in proselytising. The government used the flimsy excuse of “religious activity” to serve expulsion orders. [more]