07, Jan 2018 | CJP team
On the first day of 2018, Saffron flag bearers attacked the Bhima Koregaon Battle Memorial in large numbers. Dalits who come to Bhima Koregaon every year on January 1 to pay respects to the martyrs of the battle were caught off-guard and resisted the attacks spontaneously. The next few days saw an immaculate and organic upsurge of the resistance of people. The Dalit activist and leader, Mr. Prakash Ambedkar called for a Maharashtra bandh after which scores of people, especially around localities in which Dalit communities reside, came out on streets in large numbers. The police, which proved to be utterly incapable in controlling the Bhima Koregaon violence of January 1, despite forewarnings, on January 3 lathi charged and fired upon the protesters which further triggered the anger of the people. In the aftermath of these incidents the police lodged FIRs against Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mevani, guest speakers for a program held in Shanivarwada, Pune called Elgaar Parishad on December 31, 2017.
The FIR charged them under Sections 153A, 505 and 117. And summarised their ‘crime’ as making allegedly inflammatory statements inciting violence. Some of these statements, selectively quoted in the FIR are, “..The end of Neo-Peshwai is the tribute to the martyrs of Bhima Koregaon” (by accused no.1 Umar Khalid) and “..The elimination of caste and class will happen through the struggle on the streets”
In an atmosphere in which the two prime accused of the Bhima Koregaon violence, Milind Ekbote and Manohar (Sambhaji) Bhide are yet to be arrested, the narrative of the whole episode is being shaped around the so-called inciteful speeches of Umar Khalid and Jignesh Mevani. It just appears that the state is not willing to look into the main reasons of this unrest, which is the terror unleashed by the forces aligning with the right, with the complete complicity and support of the ruling dispensation.
It is only fair then, that we take a look at the kind of speeches that have been delivered in the past by several individuals belonging to right wing organisations and try to make up our mind about what should constitute as “hateful or inciteful” speech.
Hate Speech and What It Does
Documents and records of communal conflict have shown that it is the insidious and unchecked proliferation of hate speech that allows targeted mass violence to be unleashed. CJP has been at the forefront of the battle against inciteful speech, itself filing cases and urging a band of citizens to take the lead in getting law enforcement agencies to enforce the law.
All the Hate, All the Time
September 2002: Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat, at an election rally at Becharji; September 9, 2002 delivered a speech referring 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. “Do we go and run relief camps? Should we open child producing centres? We want to firmly implement family planning. Hum paanch, humare pachees (We five, our 25) (laughs). Who will benefit from this development? Is family planning not necessary in Gujarat?”
2009, Yogi Adityanath: During the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, Yogi Adityanath campaigned for the BJP candidate Ramakant Yadav, “If they take one Hindu girl, we will convert at least 100 Muslim girls into Hindus”, he said.
In 2014, when the video got traction and people wanted to verify whether it was really him, he responded, “Any video needs to go through forensic investigation in order to ascertain its authenticity”
September 2013: In a speech delivered in September, Modi said, “If a dog dies in an accident, then we do feel pain” referring to Muslims killed in Gujarat riots as children of dogs
2014: Yogi made a detailed argument against the reservations for women in an essay published on his website, yogiadityanath.com. He said, “Women are surging ahead in every aspect of life. If this is the natural course of things, what is the need to hurry things unnecessarily [with reservations]?” He further added, “Women should always be protected. Energy that’s left unchecked can go to waste”
September 2014: During the Lok Sabha election campaigns in the state of UP in April 2014, Amit Shah made appeal to the audiences to allegedly avenge what happened at Muzaffarnagar, “A man can live without food or sleep. He can live when he is thirsty and hungry. But when he is insulted, he can’t live. The humiliation has to be avenged.” A short ban was imposed on him by the then Election Commission, restraining him from campaigning, but it was lifted soon after. Though an FIR was filed too, the case has not proceeded neither he got arrested for inciting people.
December 2014: Mohan Bhagwat, RSS chief, at the Viraat Hindu Sammelan in Kolkota, December 2014.“People of Delhi have to decide whether they want a government of Ramzaadas (followers of Ram) or haraamzaadas”.
December 2014: In 2014, coming on the heels of farmer suicides in Vidarbha, BJP MP Sanjay Dhotre said “Let these farmers fend for themselves. If crops fail, they will figure out what to do. And if they dying, let them die”
August 24, 2015: Speaking at a rally in Gorakhpur, Uttra Pradesh, the current CM of UP, Mr. Yogi had said, “In the rest of Uttar Pradesh Hindu girls may be going anywhere, but in Gorakhpur, Muslim girls come to the houses of Hindus” The audience had cheered and this remark.
August 27, 2015: In a rally named, “Virat Chetna Rally” supporters of Hindutva groups spewed hate saying things like, “When India becomes a Hindu Rashtra, Muslims will become second class citizens. When they become second class citizens, voting rights will be taken away from them (See below video, 1:50 minutes).” Members of the organisation, Hindu Yuva Vahini can be seen in the video terrorizing the villagers with arms in their hands
By 3:08 minutes, another minister can be seen saying, “Today the need of the hour is to exhume Muslim women from their graves, and rape them” in the presence of the current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Yogi. Several other news-papers reported this.
November, 2015: Speaking at another rally, Yogi Adityanath said, “There is a need to show our strength. “Bakre ki Amma kab tak khair manaegi, aap dekhte rahiye!” suggesting that just like a goat is destined to be slaughtered, a Muslim woman is destined for the same fate!
February 15, 2016: In order to spread hate against Umar Khalid, the JNU alumnus who was fabricated and arrested on charges of sedition, Rahul Shivshankar, the then TV anchor of NewsX had said, “Umar Khalid is a Jaish sympathiser. He has connections with Kashmiri separatists and he has spoken out in favour of this Jaish..The Jaish, by the way, is the organisation that targeted Indian in Pathankot.” Further, he charged that Umar along with other students, which included Kashmiri students, had “infiltrated’ the JNU campus on the day when they had planned the protest against death penalty given to Afzal Guru. He added that Umar Khalid travelled to Pakistan twice. All these claims were lies as Umar does not have a passport and an attempt to incite hate against him.
April, 2016: In an inflammatory speech Baba Ramdev said “Arrey is desh mein kanoon hai, nahi toh teri ek ki kya, hum toh lakhon ki gardan kaat sakte hain (Some person wearing a cap stands up and says that he will not say ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’ even if you decapitate him. Look, there is rule of law in this country, otherwise let alone one, we can behead lakhs,” attacking those who refuse to chant the slogan “Bharat Mata ki Jai”.
October 16, 2017: Recently Sangeet Som, the BJP MLA, who was accused of posting an inflammatory video on Facebook which triggered communal violence in Muzaffarnagar and claimed 62 lives, said, ““Many people were sad when the Taj Mahal was removed from the tourism booklet. What history are we talking about? The history that the builder of the Taj had imprisoned his father? The history that the builder of the Taj had worked to eliminate Hindus from Uttar Pradesh and India? If such people are still mentioned in history then it is unfortunate.” He had added that the BJP is working to remove the “blots” like Aurangzeb, Akbar or Babur and bring back Ram, Krishna and Shivaji to Indian text books.
December, 2017: Just before the Gujarat elections, BJP outfits started saying that Jignesh Mevani was receiving funds from Jihadi outfits and they called the organisation PFI jihadi.
December, 2017: While delivering a speech, Telangana BJP minister Raja Singh brandished a sword and called for Hindus to keep swords in their houses. Though many cases remain filed against him, he carries on with making such remarks with impunity.
Through these statements, it is easy to make our own conclusions about the kind of regressive thoughts and ideas that are being normalized in the Indian society today, from calling Muslims as second-class citizens to issuing open calls to not spare even dead Muslim women.
And hence, we also look at both, Jignesh Mevani’s and Umar Khalid’s speeches minute by minute to understand what could be seen as ‘inciteful’ in their speeches.
What did Mevani say in Elgaar Parishad?
2:40 “During the period when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Mr. Modi had written a book called Karmyogi. In the book he mentions that the sweepers and cleaners, while doing their jobs experience spiritual joy while doing their job. This is neo-Peshwai. This is why, remembering the martyrs of Bhima Koregaon, I appeal to the Prime Minister to come to Pune, get insider the gutter and experience that spiritual joy”
3:50 “When the poor people of this country talk about issues of “Roti, Kapda, Makaan” (Food, clothes, shelter), then you (the Sanghi forces) talk about Ghar Wapasi, Love Jehad and Gau Mata (The Cow Goddess)
4:25 “Because of our struggles on streets and people’s movements, we have shattered their confidence and ensured that they got 99 seats (referring to Gujarat elections) instead of the 150 that they earlier claimed”
6:52 “Brahmins are not the only forces complicit with the Saffron ideology, in fact Anil and Mukesh Ambani are the biggest Brahmanical forces, the others being Ambanis, Adanis and Essar. During the Manmad satyagraha organised by Railway workers in 1938, Babasaheb Ambedkar had said, the biggest enemies of the country’s working forces and Dalits are Brahmanism and Capitalism.”
9:54 “If there will be a revolution in this country, it will be through the struggle on the streets.”
14:03 “The annihilation of caste will only happen through the fights on the streets. Equality between different classes will also be established only through the fight on the streets.”
15:21 “All the people belonging to different ideas, ideologies and backgrounds need to come together on one platform. Because Hegde has said that democracy should be done away with and the constitution should be amended.
Umar Khalid’s speech at Elgaar Parishad
5:05 “In times of differences and contradictions, the people weak in their ideology kill Dabholkar, Pansare and Gauri. This shows their weakness.”
6:09 “We have come to demand accountability for the murders of Dabholkar, Pansare, Gauri Lankesh, Akhlaq, Pehlu Khan, Kalburgi, Rohith Vemula and all those who have been killed.”
6:20 “We are not celebrating the rule of the British Empire. They say, to remember Bhima Koregaon is an anti-national activity. The martyrs of Bhima Koregaon were honoured by Babasaheb Ambedkar. What would you have called him? I am quite sure, if Babasaheb Ambedkar was alive today, the Sanghi forces would have called him anti-national as well.”
8:22 “We can’t defeat the forces of the Sangh till we annihilate casteism.”
9:01 “Not only do we share borders with Pakistan, but there are borders within this country. Every village in this country is divided in two sections by these borders. One is where the Brahmanical forces live, and the other where the Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims do.”
12:25 “Modi Saheb talks about big things. He says, we own nuclear bombs. You may own nuclear bombs, but till today, you do not have the technology to clean the sewage lines”
16:02 “Did Muslims bring the tradition of inequality and caste system in India? Or is this the result of a Manuvadi problem? Modi Saheb wants to communalise everything. This is why he does not try to look for the roots of caste system in Manu’s ideology but in Mughals.”
16:20: “Muslims are told that they are the children of Babur and that they destroyed the Ram temple. Other religions did not spread in this country on the edge of the sword, but because of the same reasons for which Buddhism and Sikhism did. And those reasons have to do with the ideology of Manu.”
We leave upon our readers to make their own conclusions about what among these is made to incite hate and which ones, just to fabricate the youth who are trying to bring a change in the country.
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