The cover story of the January 23 edition of the London-based magazine The Economist has sparked controversy in India. Titled Intolerant India – How Modi is endangering the world’s biggest democracy, the story puts the spotlight on the Citizenship Amendment Act brought in by Narendra Modi-led ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Critics say the amendments undermine India’s secular foundations. Many fear they will be used with the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens to harass and disenfranchise Indian Muslims.
The magazine’s cover drew sharp reactions on social media.
Many social media users contrasted the current cover of The Economist with its October 2010 cover, which painted a rosier picture of India’s future. The country was then ruled by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government of Manmohan Singh.
This is not the first instance when Prime Minister Modi has faced criticism by international media. In May 2019, the Time magazine had addressed Modi as “India’s divider-in-chief”. His supporters had then asked for a boycott of the magazine by using the hashtag #BoycottTime.
On Friday, some social media users decided to register their protest against The Economist in a similar fashion, but they ended up using the erroneous hashtag #BoycottEconomy.
This led to some witty comments on Twitter.