In Parliament on Thursday Union finance minister, Arun Jaitley gave a sermon that hate speech must not be tolerated in the name of free speech. Noble sentiments coming from a top minister in the RSS-directed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-headed, BJP-dominated, NDA government? Or a good example of the devil quoting the scriptures?
Perhaps we should hold Jaitley to his words and put his own parivar to the free speech-hate speech test. But before that, he should also tell us what one should make of ministers resorting to Goebbelsian tactics, twisting truths, even lying in Parliament. First it was minister for human resources development, Smriti Irani in Parliament on Wednesday. SabrangIndia has already dealt with Irani’s bluffs adequately. Now, Jaitley is up to the same trick. Given the different focus of this article, just one example should suffice.
“In one city it is martyrdom of Yakub Memon, in JNU it is martyrdom of Afzal Guru being observed,” proclaimed Jaitley in Parliament. Really, Mr Jaitley? Were Rohith Vemula and his colleagues observing the “martyrdom of Yakub Memon” at Hyderabad Central University? And was Kanhaiya Kumar observing the “martyrdom of Afzal Guru” and is “guilty of sedition” just because a doctored video by Zee News so claims and Arnab Goswami is screaming?
But let’s return to Jaitley’s sermon in Parliament. Below are some gems from the sangh parivar pantheon. And we would love to hear from him as to whether these should be upheld as free speech or seen for what they are: hate speech, which in some instances are also incitement to violence.
Free speech or hate speech, Mr Jaitley?
- Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, at an election rally at Becharji; September 9, 2002. The speech refers to privately-run relief camps for over 1.5 lakh Muslims who had been displaced during the 2002 anti-Muslim pogrom under his watch, repeating Hindutva’s propaganda that all Muslim men marry four wives and produce 25 children.
- Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, giving his “puppy analogy” on being asked if he felt any remorse for the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat under his watch, in an interview to Reuters; July, 2013
- VK Singh, retired general and Union minister of state for external affairs; in response to the murder of two Dalit children in Faridabad; November, 2015
- Amit Shah, BJP president, at an election rally in Bihar, October 2015
- Amit Shah, BJP president, at an election rally in violence-torn Muzaffarnagar, UP; April 2014. The Chief Election Commissioner banned him from campaigning in UP but ban was later lifted.
- Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Union minister of state for parliamentary affairs, during a TV programme; May 2015
- Mohan Bhagwat, RSS chief, at the Viraat Hindu Sammelan in Kolkota, December 2014.
- Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Union minister of state, also referred to as ‘minister of hate’, at a public rally during Delhi elections; December 2014
- Sakshi Maharaj , BJP MP; September 2014
- Mohan Bhagwat, RSS chief, at the golden jubilee celebration of VHP in Mumbai, August 2014.
- Yogi Adityanath, BJP MP, at a public meeting against alleged the ‘Love Jihad’ of Muslims; August 2014.
- Giriraj Singh, senior leader and former minister in Nitish Kumar’s cabinet; April 2014; a few months later, PM Narendra Modi appointed him minister of state at the Centre
- Pravin Togadia, VHP international working president; inciting Hindus to prevent a Muslim buying a house in a Hindu majority locality in Bhavnagar, Gujarat; April 2014.
- Pravin Togadia, international working president, VHP; November 2011
- MS Golwalkar, the most revered sarsanghchalak in the history of the RSS; also known as the 'Guru of Hate'; in his book 'Bunch of Thoughts'
- MS Golwalkar, the most revered sarsanghchalak in the history of the RSS; also known as the 'Guru of Hate'; in his book, 'We, or our Nationhood Defined'