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Communalism Hate Speech

10 most hate-driven statements by Indian politicians

Some of India’s political leaders use their power and their words to spread hate, most often focused on fueling class divides, Islamophobia, and communal hate

Sabrangindia 30 Dec 2020

Hate speech

Politicians are the select few, who have risen to important positions in the country. Some are Members of Parliament (MPs), and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). They discuss, and vote to make Laws that affect all citizens of the state and country. Many of them have won multiple elections, and then have sworn to abide by the values enshrined in the Constitution of India. They hold powerful offices in their political parties, ministerial positions, memberships of powerful committees, and are the public faces of the government. Their words hold the power to change.

Yet, some of India's political leaders use their power, and their words to spread hate, most often focused on fuelling Islamophobia, communal divisions. The list of communal speeches by politicians is long this year of Covid-19, elections, communal violence, protests… but here are the top 10, that caused much damage.

 

1. Desh ke ghaddaron ko, goli maaron s****n ko: Anurag Thakur, Member of Parliament, Minister of State for Finance

He raised the most dangerous slogan in an election rally in Delhi on January 20, 2020, inciting the public present to chant: “Desh ke ghaddaron ko, goli maaron s*****n ko” (Shoot down the rascals/the traitors to the country). No action was taken against him. Eventually, a plea was filed in court by Brinda Karat, Member of the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) and K.M.Tewari, Secretary Delhi State Committee. After which a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had directed DCP, New Delhi to submit a detailed report to explain why no First Information Report (FIR) was filed against Anurag Thakur and fellow MP Parvesh Verma. Thakur maintains, it was the crowds that chanted about bullets, not him. Brinda Karat also moved Delhi HC, challenging order refusing hate speech FIR against Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma.

 

2. These people will enter your houses, rape your sisters & daughters, kill them: Parvesh Verma, Member of Parliament 

Like Thakur, Pravesh Verma too comes from a political family. He had made many communal remarks targeting Muslims, while campaigning for BJP during Delhi Assembly elections 2020. He referred to the anti-CAA protests saying, “These people will enter your houses, rape your sisters & daughters, kill them…”  Such words fuelled hate and Islamophobia and multiple fact finding reports investigating the North East Delhi riots have held such hate speech responsible for fuelling the communal violence. He also threatened to destroy mosques built on ‘government land’ in his constituency, and during the Covid-19 lockdown he posted an old video of namaz saying it violated social distancing norms. He was gently scolded by Delhi Police for that.

 

3. If the roads are not cleared, we will have to come onto the roads: Kapil Mishra, BJP member

Kapil Mishra does not hold a leadership role in the party, and was not given a ticket to contest under the Bharatiya Janata Party’s banner in the state election but remains their most ‘vocal’ politician in Delhi. He extensively uses social media platforms to spew communal hate against minority communities. Mishra had made the statement standing next to a local police official outside the Jaffrabad Metro station in the days preceding the Delhi violence, just before US President Donad Trump's visit. The statement reeked of impunity and was highly inflammatory, designed to embolden people to peretrate violence. In November 2020, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) approached the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) with a complaint against Kapil Mishra. Though the BJP-led Union Government has never ‘officially rewarded’ Kapil Mishra for his hate speeches, he somehow has remained ‘invisible’ to even the law of the land.

 

4. Tablighi Jamaat Markaz was reason for Covid-19 spike in Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal, CM Delhi

As the Chief Ministe,r Arvind Kejriwal had written to lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal seeking an FIR against the organisers of the Nizamuddin markaz. “Organising such a gathering was extremely wrong. Imagine how many people may have contracted the virus since several persons returned to other states from the markaz,” Kejriwal had then said. The event was held, 14 days before the unplanned nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24, those attending from outside Delhi, found themselves stranded, and faced a nightmare of police cases for months. Kejriwal also issued regular updates of the number of ‘infections’ from the jamaat. This added massive anti-Muslim hate across the National Capital. The consequences are still being felt.

 

5. Why not call 'lower castes' by their name: Pragya Thakur, Member of Parliament

While calling oppressed castes ‘ignorant’ the BJP politician encourages the audience to stick to their caste profession. Attempting to legitimise the highly discriminatory caste system, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Pragya Thakur advocated for the Varna system at a Kshatriya Mahasabha in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh on December 12, 2020. She said society has been divided into four categories by the ‘dharmashatra’ (social treatise) only the ‘Shudra’ caste is hurt by its own label because of their “ignorance” regarding the social system, “If Kshatriyas are called Kshatriyas, they do not feel bad. But when Shudras are called Shudras, they are hurt. Why? Because they do not understand,” she said.

 

6. You will either go to hospital or crematorium: Dilip Ghosh, Bengal BJP chief  

Ghosh’s ‘warning’ to rival party workers from Trinamool Congress (TNC) was delivered in public, with cameras rolling, and was made just two days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to West Bengal. He said, "All brothers of Didi better mend their ways in six months. Otherwise their arms, legs, ribs and heads will be broken. You will either end up in the hospital or the crematorium!” 

 

7. Defeat of Mughals couldn't be attained during preparation of NRC: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam’s Minister for Finance, Health and Education Himanta Biswa Sarma said the “government will prepare NRC once again if BJP comes to power in Assam in 2021" added a dangerous communal hue while speaking about preparing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) again. He insinuated that this had to be done government employees belonging to the Muslim community were misusing their power in Muslim dominated Dhubri and Barpeta districts, and said, "The defeat of Mughals couldn't be attained during preparation of NRC, because of the faulty acts of Prateek Hajela. He engaged people in NRC works, who are themselves doubtful citizens. So, after BJP comes to power in 2021, it will prepare a new NRC once again." 

 

8. Theatres will burn if Komaram Bheem shown in Muslim outfit: Sanjay Kumar, MP, Telangana BJP chief

Telangana’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President and Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar threatened to assault well known film director S. S. Rajamouli if he did not remove the “undermining” image of Bheem in ‘Muslim attire’. On November 2, 2020 he threatened to burn down any movie theatre that screened Roudram Ranam Rudhiram (RRR) movie for portraying a tribal leader in traditional Muslim attire. Kumar accused Director S. S. Rajamouli of distorting historical facts by adding in a scene wherein Komaram Bheem, played by Jr. NTR, is seen applying surma, wearing an amulet and donning a Muslim skull cap. Unsurprisingly, his comments came a day before the bypolls on November 3. However, despite triggering a Hindu-Muslim debate, the person in question – Komaram Bheem – may not have been a Hindu at all, he was from the Gond tribe in Telangana.

 

9. Control of state power by Hindus is absolutely essential for sustenance of Dharma: Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament, Karnataka

He has often referred to Muslims as “puncture wallahs and illiterates”, and commented on anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) protests saying “Mughal raj” will return if the “majority community” was not “vigilant”. In August he posted on Twitter saying, “Dear Hindus, Most important lesson is that control of State power by Hindus is absolutely essential for sustenance of Dharma. When we didn’t control State, we lost our temple. When we regained, we rebuilt. The 282 in 2014 & 303 in 2019 to Sri @narendramodi made today possible!” In October, Indians in Europe and various other collectives called for the removal of Tejasvi Surya as a speaker at a  conference hosted by the Indian Consulate in Hamburg. They said Surya had “a divisive agenda against non-Hindu communities which is against the European ethos of equality, diversity and inclusivity” and that “ goes against the European responsibility under international laws such as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights among others.”

 

10. If you don't mend your ways, ‘Ram naam satya’ journey will begin: Adityanath, CM Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath threatened those interfaith couples he accused of “love jihad” saying the Hindu funeral chant of “ram naam satya hai” will play for them if they "don't mend their ways".  He said this on October 31, 2020 during a campaign rally for upcoming by-elections, fuelling communal propaganda. He soon passed the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance. The law was promulgated by UP’s Governor Anandiben Patel on November 28, and allows imprisonment of up to 10 years, and makes ‘unlawful conversions’ a cognisable and non-bailable offence. A month later, around 35 people have been apprehended, and a dozen FIRs registered. Love Jihad, is a concept introduced by divisive forces, who invest in widening the Hindu-Muslim divide.

 

(Compiled by Karuna John)

 

Related:

A 2020 report on Victims of Vilification: Anti-CAA protesters in Uttar Pradesh 

A 2020 Report of Victims of Incarceration: Student activists harassed, arrested

A 2020 Report of 10 Worst Victims of apathy: Dalits, Adivasis

A 2020 Report of Victims of apathy: People of Assam

2020 List of Honour: 10 Anti-CAA-NPR-NRC protesters vilified in Delhi

10 most hate-driven statements by Indian politicians

Some of India’s political leaders use their power and their words to spread hate, most often focused on fueling class divides, Islamophobia, and communal hate

Hate speech

Politicians are the select few, who have risen to important positions in the country. Some are Members of Parliament (MPs), and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs). They discuss, and vote to make Laws that affect all citizens of the state and country. Many of them have won multiple elections, and then have sworn to abide by the values enshrined in the Constitution of India. They hold powerful offices in their political parties, ministerial positions, memberships of powerful committees, and are the public faces of the government. Their words hold the power to change.

Yet, some of India's political leaders use their power, and their words to spread hate, most often focused on fuelling Islamophobia, communal divisions. The list of communal speeches by politicians is long this year of Covid-19, elections, communal violence, protests… but here are the top 10, that caused much damage.

 

1. Desh ke ghaddaron ko, goli maaron s****n ko: Anurag Thakur, Member of Parliament, Minister of State for Finance

He raised the most dangerous slogan in an election rally in Delhi on January 20, 2020, inciting the public present to chant: “Desh ke ghaddaron ko, goli maaron s*****n ko” (Shoot down the rascals/the traitors to the country). No action was taken against him. Eventually, a plea was filed in court by Brinda Karat, Member of the Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) and K.M.Tewari, Secretary Delhi State Committee. After which a Chief Metropolitan Magistrate had directed DCP, New Delhi to submit a detailed report to explain why no First Information Report (FIR) was filed against Anurag Thakur and fellow MP Parvesh Verma. Thakur maintains, it was the crowds that chanted about bullets, not him. Brinda Karat also moved Delhi HC, challenging order refusing hate speech FIR against Anurag Thakur, Pravesh Verma.

 

2. These people will enter your houses, rape your sisters & daughters, kill them: Parvesh Verma, Member of Parliament 

Like Thakur, Pravesh Verma too comes from a political family. He had made many communal remarks targeting Muslims, while campaigning for BJP during Delhi Assembly elections 2020. He referred to the anti-CAA protests saying, “These people will enter your houses, rape your sisters & daughters, kill them…”  Such words fuelled hate and Islamophobia and multiple fact finding reports investigating the North East Delhi riots have held such hate speech responsible for fuelling the communal violence. He also threatened to destroy mosques built on ‘government land’ in his constituency, and during the Covid-19 lockdown he posted an old video of namaz saying it violated social distancing norms. He was gently scolded by Delhi Police for that.

 

3. If the roads are not cleared, we will have to come onto the roads: Kapil Mishra, BJP member

Kapil Mishra does not hold a leadership role in the party, and was not given a ticket to contest under the Bharatiya Janata Party’s banner in the state election but remains their most ‘vocal’ politician in Delhi. He extensively uses social media platforms to spew communal hate against minority communities. Mishra had made the statement standing next to a local police official outside the Jaffrabad Metro station in the days preceding the Delhi violence, just before US President Donad Trump's visit. The statement reeked of impunity and was highly inflammatory, designed to embolden people to peretrate violence. In November 2020, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) approached the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) with a complaint against Kapil Mishra. Though the BJP-led Union Government has never ‘officially rewarded’ Kapil Mishra for his hate speeches, he somehow has remained ‘invisible’ to even the law of the land.

 

4. Tablighi Jamaat Markaz was reason for Covid-19 spike in Delhi: Arvind Kejriwal, CM Delhi

As the Chief Ministe,r Arvind Kejriwal had written to lieutenant governor (L-G) Anil Baijal seeking an FIR against the organisers of the Nizamuddin markaz. “Organising such a gathering was extremely wrong. Imagine how many people may have contracted the virus since several persons returned to other states from the markaz,” Kejriwal had then said. The event was held, 14 days before the unplanned nationwide lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24, those attending from outside Delhi, found themselves stranded, and faced a nightmare of police cases for months. Kejriwal also issued regular updates of the number of ‘infections’ from the jamaat. This added massive anti-Muslim hate across the National Capital. The consequences are still being felt.

 

5. Why not call 'lower castes' by their name: Pragya Thakur, Member of Parliament

While calling oppressed castes ‘ignorant’ the BJP politician encourages the audience to stick to their caste profession. Attempting to legitimise the highly discriminatory caste system, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Pragya Thakur advocated for the Varna system at a Kshatriya Mahasabha in Sehore, Madhya Pradesh on December 12, 2020. She said society has been divided into four categories by the ‘dharmashatra’ (social treatise) only the ‘Shudra’ caste is hurt by its own label because of their “ignorance” regarding the social system, “If Kshatriyas are called Kshatriyas, they do not feel bad. But when Shudras are called Shudras, they are hurt. Why? Because they do not understand,” she said.

 

6. You will either go to hospital or crematorium: Dilip Ghosh, Bengal BJP chief  

Ghosh’s ‘warning’ to rival party workers from Trinamool Congress (TNC) was delivered in public, with cameras rolling, and was made just two days after Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to West Bengal. He said, "All brothers of Didi better mend their ways in six months. Otherwise their arms, legs, ribs and heads will be broken. You will either end up in the hospital or the crematorium!” 

 

7. Defeat of Mughals couldn't be attained during preparation of NRC: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam’s Minister for Finance, Health and Education Himanta Biswa Sarma said the “government will prepare NRC once again if BJP comes to power in Assam in 2021" added a dangerous communal hue while speaking about preparing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) again. He insinuated that this had to be done government employees belonging to the Muslim community were misusing their power in Muslim dominated Dhubri and Barpeta districts, and said, "The defeat of Mughals couldn't be attained during preparation of NRC, because of the faulty acts of Prateek Hajela. He engaged people in NRC works, who are themselves doubtful citizens. So, after BJP comes to power in 2021, it will prepare a new NRC once again." 

 

8. Theatres will burn if Komaram Bheem shown in Muslim outfit: Sanjay Kumar, MP, Telangana BJP chief

Telangana’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President and Karimnagar MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar threatened to assault well known film director S. S. Rajamouli if he did not remove the “undermining” image of Bheem in ‘Muslim attire’. On November 2, 2020 he threatened to burn down any movie theatre that screened Roudram Ranam Rudhiram (RRR) movie for portraying a tribal leader in traditional Muslim attire. Kumar accused Director S. S. Rajamouli of distorting historical facts by adding in a scene wherein Komaram Bheem, played by Jr. NTR, is seen applying surma, wearing an amulet and donning a Muslim skull cap. Unsurprisingly, his comments came a day before the bypolls on November 3. However, despite triggering a Hindu-Muslim debate, the person in question – Komaram Bheem – may not have been a Hindu at all, he was from the Gond tribe in Telangana.

 

9. Control of state power by Hindus is absolutely essential for sustenance of Dharma: Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament, Karnataka

He has often referred to Muslims as “puncture wallahs and illiterates”, and commented on anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) protests saying “Mughal raj” will return if the “majority community” was not “vigilant”. In August he posted on Twitter saying, “Dear Hindus, Most important lesson is that control of State power by Hindus is absolutely essential for sustenance of Dharma. When we didn’t control State, we lost our temple. When we regained, we rebuilt. The 282 in 2014 & 303 in 2019 to Sri @narendramodi made today possible!” In October, Indians in Europe and various other collectives called for the removal of Tejasvi Surya as a speaker at a  conference hosted by the Indian Consulate in Hamburg. They said Surya had “a divisive agenda against non-Hindu communities which is against the European ethos of equality, diversity and inclusivity” and that “ goes against the European responsibility under international laws such as the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights among others.”

 

10. If you don't mend your ways, ‘Ram naam satya’ journey will begin: Adityanath, CM Uttar Pradesh

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath threatened those interfaith couples he accused of “love jihad” saying the Hindu funeral chant of “ram naam satya hai” will play for them if they "don't mend their ways".  He said this on October 31, 2020 during a campaign rally for upcoming by-elections, fuelling communal propaganda. He soon passed the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance. The law was promulgated by UP’s Governor Anandiben Patel on November 28, and allows imprisonment of up to 10 years, and makes ‘unlawful conversions’ a cognisable and non-bailable offence. A month later, around 35 people have been apprehended, and a dozen FIRs registered. Love Jihad, is a concept introduced by divisive forces, who invest in widening the Hindu-Muslim divide.

 

(Compiled by Karuna John)

 

Related:

A 2020 report on Victims of Vilification: Anti-CAA protesters in Uttar Pradesh 

A 2020 Report of Victims of Incarceration: Student activists harassed, arrested

A 2020 Report of 10 Worst Victims of apathy: Dalits, Adivasis

A 2020 Report of Victims of apathy: People of Assam

2020 List of Honour: 10 Anti-CAA-NPR-NRC protesters vilified in Delhi

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