Jantar Mantar rally: BJP leader, SC lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay among six arrested

Anti-Muslim hate speech at the Delhi rally that called for communal violence has deep roots anchored by Upadhyay and co.

Anti-MuslimImage Courtesy:freepressjournal.in

Days after a rally they organised, turned into a hate speech generator, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Ashwini Upadhyay and five others have been arrested by the Delhi Police. As per the police, case under sections 153A ( Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, etc) and 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant, in this case it is likely to refer to Covid related restriction still in place in public spaces) has been filed against the accused.

The other men arrested have been identified as: Deepak Singh, who is said to be president of an outfit called Hindu Force, Vinod Sharma who heads an outfit called Sudarshan Vahini, Vineet Kranti and Preet Singh. According to Indian Express, they were previously detained and by afternoon on Tuesday August 10, they were formally arrested. The arrest, according to IE, has been confirmed by JCP (New Delhi Range) Jaspal Singh.

The men have been accused of being involved in the communal sloganeering that called for violence against Muslims, at the rally called by Upadhyay near Jantar Mantar on Sunday. According to media reports, Ashwini Upadhyay had been asked to report to the Connaught Place police station for questioning on Monday. They were eventually detained, and finally arrested. There has been a massive public outrage at the hate speech calling for Muslim genocide being allowed at the rally which was attended by many who openly aligned themselves with Hindutva groups, and raised communal slogans. The groups, high on hate, did not even spare journalist  Anmol Pritam, who was at Jantar Mantar on Sunday reporting for the online news portal National Dastak. he shared how he was surrounded by a Hindutva mob that was forcing him to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, a religious slogan they have morphed into war cry. He refused.

Two days later, the arrest of Ashwini Upadhyay who was once a spokesperson for the state unit of BJP, is more likely to be used by him to promote himself as a ‘nationalist’ leader. He  had given the call for Sunday’s rally on various social media channels along with  ex-journalist Pushpendra Kulshreshtha asking people to gather on the streets in large numbers as other right-wing influencers. He had promised that other right wing influencers such as politician Kapil Mishra and army veteran Lt Gen (retd) GD Bakshi will also be there. However, on Sunday, August 8, he had to contend with former TV actor Gajendra Singh Chauhan, as the ‘star attraction’. Upadhyay however, made sure he himself remained in the spotlight as hundreds of protesters, some who had brought along their children, let the hate speech fly free, while the rally ‘officially’ demanded that “222 black laws… made by the English” be removed from the Indian Penal Code. The crowds perhaps assumed that Upadhyay as a lawyer, is an authority on the IPC. Seven years ago, he was expelled from the Aam Aadmi party, and as expected he has an affinity towards political colleague Kapil Mishra and fans of the latter also lend their support.

Even before this hate rally threw him into the limelight once again, Upadhyay has featured in scores of videos, often along with Pushpendra Kulshrestra where they ‘discuss’ the right wing agenda. Their video discussions often get lakhs  of views. 

((Source: Youtube screengrab))

However, it was ironic that Kulshrestra stayed safe and away from the rally of August 8, he even shared the police post that the rally did not have any official permission. 

The other right wing influencers too stayed away. Instead, in attendance were the rabib violence inducing groups who then proceeded to chant hate slogans while being filmed. While on the face it it looks as if Upadhyay’s influential friends have thrown him to the wolves, the fact remains that there are many supporete speaking up for him. A video uploaded on Youtube uploaded some time ago, is lamenting why Upadhyay was arrested when the Delhi Police was under the Home Ministry. The video by one Sandeep Deo is gaining viewers as he makes an appeal for Upadhyay, painting him as a patriotic leader. 

Is Upadhyay’s Bharat Jodo andolan twisting a call given by the PM in July? 

The Bharat Jodo Andolan rally, which soon became an incubator of calls for violence and massacre againt the Muslim community with slurs like “Jab M***e Kate Jaenge Ram Ram chillayenge” has a name similar to the slogan. It was in July this year, that Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to lead a ‘Bharat jodo andolan’ (unite India movement). According to an Indian Express report from then, the PM in his ‘Mann ki Baat’ radio address, had said “Just the way the Quit India Movement, (Bharat Chhorro Andolan) was steered under Bapu’s leadership, every countryman today has to lead a ‘Bharat Jodo Andolan’. It is our duty to ensure that our work helps closely knit, bind our India which is filled with diversity… we have to move forward with the mantra ‘nation first, always first’”.

Upadhyay’s supporters at the rally have now taken the PM’s slogan to a direction that suits their divisive and violent agenda. Meanwhile, there is no word from the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), yet on what action they would take against Upadhyay, a member arranging such a rally, and subsequently being arrested after it took a communal turn. Upadhyay on his part had been active on social media, before his arrest, positioning himself as a martyr of sorts with words like: “whether i am around or not…  English laws should be abolished…”


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