Hate speech incidents in the past few days have been reported from Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh by some not-so-prominent faces. These speeches resort to fear mongering by creating fear against converting to other religions, insulting, and abusing the Muslim community and threatening against eating beef and spreading disinformation.
Without a law prohibiting hate speech and lack of jurisprudence drawing a line between free speech and hate speech, such speeches have continued unabated in the past few years and the impact is clearly seen in the rising incidents of violence, false allegations of forceful conversions and the dehumanizing of the Muslim community. Through these speeches the Christian community is mostly targeted for converting Hindus and the Muslims are targeted on several levels, such as cow slaughter, their Islamic beliefs, their religious practices, for ‘love jihad’ and so on.
In the past week, we discovered three incidents of hate speech:
On April 10, a video surfaced from Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh where Prem Singh Damor of VHP while addressing an audience of about 100 persons, mostly clad in saffron turbans said, “those who have converted themselves, bring them back. This must be done by each person because this war is not of one person or one community. Your rights over the land are safe only until you do not convert to Christianity.” This meeting was held in Bhagat Singh Nagar in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua. Through his address to the people, he was spreading disinformation by stating that once you convert to a different religion, the rights of the people over land would abrogate since each religion has a different law. The Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, also known as the Forest Rights Act (FRA) is applicable to all forest dwellers and scheduled tribes irrespective of their religion and conversion of one’s religion does not affect one’s rights acquired over the lands.
Location: Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh
Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Prem Singh Damor’s hate speech targets Christians and indulges in fear-mongering by claiming Christians are conspiring to convert Hindus. pic.twitter.com/OaKtFR54Uw
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) April 10, 2023
on April 8 a video from Hyderabad, Telangana came up where Hyderabad Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) President Nitin Nandkar referred to All India Majli-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi’s statement from 2013 where he had said that “25 crores” (Muslims) would easily take on “100 crores” (Hindus) if police are removed for 15 minutes.” Nandkar said, “not for 15 minutes, just fight with me for 1 hour and if I don’t make you chant Jai Shree Ram then I will change my name”.
Further he also referred to Asaduddin Owaisi’s statement of 2017 where he had mentioned a paan seller from Aurangabad and said that according to him his paan helps in begetting children. This was supposedly in response to VHP’s Dharam Sansad program in Udupi, Karnataka where Govindadev Giriji Maharaj had said that Hindus should have at least four children so that the population balance is maintained. Nandkar, referring to this “paan” statement said, “You are talking about paan. Even without eating any paan we can produce 10 children. If you can produce 10 children by eating one paan, if we eat one paan we can produce 100 children. But the problem is our culture says that have 4 children and turn them into policemen, doctors, engineers and one for fighting for Hindus. If you produce 10 children, one is a rickshaw driver, one is working at a puncture shop, other is working at a paan shop. If you want to sell paan, stay in your paan shop. If you think about slaughtering cows, we will take you out of your shops and kill you violently (expletives).”
He also threatened violence if there is cow slaughter and selling of beef in the city.
Location: Hyderabad, Telangana
Last week, the Hyderabad Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) President Nitin Nandkar delivered hate speech against Muslims and threatened violence against people who sell, transport, or consume beef. pic.twitter.com/M7cqzENiXh
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) April 8, 2023
On April 7 came a video from Uttar Pradesh’s Banda where at Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha event, a Hindu far-right leader said, “there is one religion that believes in ‘live and let live’ and there is the other religion which believes in ‘live and don’t let others live’” He further said that meaning of Ramzan is “Ram ko jaan” (Knowing Ram) “but they don’t know Ram”. He also said that after Prophet Mohammad, some conspirators added few things in the Quran due to which terrorism is spreading. There were, however, barely 10-15 people in the audience.
Location: Banda, Uttar Pradesh
At the Akhil Bhartiya Hindu Mahasabha event, a Hindu far-right leader delivered an Islamophobic speech, demonising Muslim minorities and their faith. pic.twitter.com/Aph6Hx1wxs
— HindutvaWatch (@HindutvaWatchIn) April 7, 2023