Promoting Amity in the Times of Hate

An appeal for Harmony amidst increasing instances of vested interests attempting to spread communal discord


Last month has seen a series of incidents which are very disturbing, to say the least. They have been promoting hatred and misogyny, targeting Muslim women and verbally abusing the ‘Father of the nation’. Along with this we also came to know the immaculate investigation by The Wire, which tells us the frightening Tek Fog app capable of creating a storm of Hate against sections of society.

At the DharmSansad held at Haridwar (Uttrakhand), organised by YatiNarsinghanand among others, lot of saffron clad people spewed venom against the minority community to the extent of giving the call for genocide. Yati now in judicial custody stated that “…if anyone takes on the responsibility to become the Prabhakaran of the Hindus, I will give Rs 1 crore, and if he continues for one year, I will raise at least Rs 100 crore to give.” 

Sadhvi Annapurna too did not hold back and called for murder of 20 lakh people (purportedly Muslims).She defended it by claiming it was for religion and saying, “Yes, it’s our duty.” She added, “We will kill whoever is against our religion.” Sadhvi Annapurna a.k.a Poonam Shakun Pandey is the same person who had pumped three bullets into effigy of Gandhi a couple of years ago.

In the same meeting (DharmSandad)Johny come lately, Jitendra Tyagi also indulged in hate against his earlier religion, and he was the first one to be arrested. Along with this, we have seen the Sudarshan channel’s Suresh Chavhanke giving the oath to youth ‘to kill and die’ for our religion. In an event organised in Delhi by the Hindu Yuva Vahini, Chavhanke administered an oath to nearly 250 youth where they were made to swear, “We all, take this oath, give our word, resolve that until our life’s last breath, we, will remain prepared to fight, to die, if necessary, to kill for the sake of establishing a Hindu rashtra in this country; and to make sure that it persists and that it expands in the future.”

Yet another frightening news was about B***i Bai app. Few months ago S***i Deals app was there. Now B***i Bai app, humiliating the Muslim women who are raising the voice for rights, dignity and security of minorities were put on auction.

That’s not all. The Wire conducted an investigation, running over last few years, and revealed that BJP has one Tek Fog App, which can create propaganda at massive scale in short time. Operators have used the app to drive pro-BJP and Hindutva propaganda on Twitter, among other social media platforms.

The Hate speeches and these hateful activities have gone mostly unpunished. While B***i Bai app makers have been arrested. The police did not take any proper action against the HardwarDharmSansad. Only Jitentra Tyagi was arrested initially. With the intervention of Supreme Court, the police came into action to arrest Yati. Retired Naval Chiefs in their letter to the President have called for firm action against these Hate crimes. The alumnus and students/faculty of IIMs/IITs has drawn the attention of the government to the vicious atmosphere and the need to talk against this and to take suitable action.

The unrestrained statements and utterances of a scattered groups, which identify with Hindu communal nationalist ideology seems to have been unleashed as a plan to polarize the society. There is a global concern over what is happening in India. Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch, and 17 other human rights organizations in the USA expressed concern at the plight of Muslims in India during the Congressional Briefing. Experts spoke about the fear that country is likely to witness mass violence and massacres of Muslims if the situation worsens.

Ruling party’s deafening silence is not surprising. We know that our Prime Minster very vocal most of the times seals his lips when a Rohith Vemula is subjected to institutional murder, or Mohammad Akhlaq is lynched for storing food, which was presumed to be beef. The deliberate silence and hesitant action are well designed to ensure the impact of the hate speech, dangerous speech, and call for killings achieve a result by floating in the society for long time.

DharmSansad was a concept floated by RSS affiliate VHP; it was DharmSansad which had initially raised the issue of Ram Temple, which led to Babri demolition and intense violence followed that. The root of the ‘Hate other’ by now has travelled a long distance. Starting from the Shakhabauddhik where Muslim kings are demonised and values of Manusmriti are glorified, we have come a long way. Over last nine decades multiple organisations have been given birth to take forward this agenda.

With the coming of Social Media and new techniques, the teenagers and young students have picked up the technology in the direction in which their minds have been tuned due to the barrage of propaganda. One recalls ShambhulalRegar, who was intensely involved in social media and went on to brutally kill Afrazul on the issue of alleged “love jihad”. The four youths arrested for the B***i Bai apps are a tip of the iceberg. The Tek Fog app is the new propaganda tool which can divide the society in irreparable way.

While the hesitant police are reluctant to touch the saffron clads, and if forced to arrests them, they put some minor clauses leaving the escape route for them. Can PILs in Supreme Court save the country, riddled by such politics of hate duly promoted by the deliberate silence of ruling authorities?

While one can pin point the source of this Hate-call for Genocide, one also feels the pain that there has been no organisation on the ground to promote the values of fraternity cultivated during freedom movement. There are no effective movements and initiatives which can carry the humanism of Bhakti-Sufi among the diverse Indian communities.

While one can hope that we may have a ruling party at the center which is sensitive to the give assurance of security to minorities, action against the likes of Yati or the youth making B***i apps, or effective counter against the wretched use of Tek Fog, we do need social movements to promote amity among diverse communities through cultural-educational mechanisms. Nothing short of a social movement to promote Fraternity-Amity can ensure the peace and harmony in the society. These are the essential prerequisites of social and political-economic development of the country.

* Views expressed are the author’s own. Dr. Puniyani is a human rights defender and a former professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay). 

Other pieces by Dr. Puniyani:

Christian Minorities and Indian Democracy! 
Koran, Madrassas and Terrorism
Freedom of Religion and Christian minorities in India



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