the state and the law

Snooping as the new normal

Surveillance is going be a major theme in 2020. The good news is that there will be lots of dissent and protest this year. But how will an authoritarian government without a concept of compromise - or even tactical retreat - deal with widespread protest? Especially if this protest involves a large number of Muslims?

First, protestors will be demonised mercilessly. A propaganda attack must be the first response according to their war manual. We have had six years to see how the violent, communal rhetoric of the "proud to be followed by PM Narendra Modi" twitter army sets the tone of more mainstream discourse. The protestors will be anti-national, extremist, illiterate, puncture-wallahs who can be identified by their clothes. The Sangh twitterati will find evidence of a foreign hand - where there are signs of intelligent life, they see a foreign hand. The importance of a foreign hand is that once there is a foreign hand, nothing is off-limits. The propaganda is to pave the way for a "law and order" response to the protests. Dissenters need to be monitored, controlled and punished. We have already seen this language in use.

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