Several instances of hate speech in March and April mar the election cycle, demonise religious minorities before the polls In the run up to the elections we witnessed numerous incidents of hate speeches delivered across the country

10, Apr 2024 | CJP Team


From Jammu to Bihar, and Gujarat to Uttarakhand, the spiral of hate speeches has not slowed down, with the first phase of election cycle beginning on April 19. From the middle of the March to first week of the April, we tracked and analysed 10 instances of hate speeches delivered by numerous leaders, including Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad’s Pravin Togadia, Ekam Sanatan Bharat Dal chief Ankur Sharma, Bajrang Dal leader Vikas Varma, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader Jaydeep Patel, social media influencer Khushbu Pandey, poet and motivational speaker Ram Bhadawar, and other leaders associated by Hindu Sena and VHP. The underlying themes remains more or less the same in most, with love jihad, land jihad, and alleged Islamisation dominating the discourse. Such incidents contribute to vitiated environment and disturb level-playing field in the already muzzled Lok Sabha election, apart from villainising a community, and sharply polarising the discourse on religious lines. 

CJP is dedicated to finding and bringing to light instances of Hate Speech, so that the bigots propagating these venomous ideas can be unmasked and brought to justice. To learn more about our campaign against hate speech, please become a member. To support our initiatives, please donate now!

Additionally, this allows parties and candidates to unduly influence elections through proxy actors, without directly getting their hands dirty, thus avoiding the violation of model code of conduct and other relevant provisions of the law. While these bad actors themselves may face the wrath of the law and might be booked under relevant hate speech laws like IPC Section 153A and 505, the chances that they will be provided impunity by the political class cannot be rule out, as eventually the same representatives who may have benefited from polarised and hate-filled atmosphere are most likely to emerge winners in a majoritarian elections, vitiated through misinformation, disinformation, false conspiracy theories, and religious hatred towards the minorities. 

Details of the hate speeches

VHP leader in Rajasthan

On April 4, Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader in Jaitaran, Beawar, Rajasthan, delivered the speech at its event, alleging that Muslim boys entrap Hindu girls as part of love jihad strategy, and make the girls run away with them. He further claimed that these Hindu girls will either be sold in foreign markets or chopped off into pieces if they try to resist. Communalising the Sandeshkhali incident, in which TMC men were accused of sexually exploiting women of the town, the VHP leader claimed that in West Bengal the Jihadis openly ask you to send your wives to their house for 2 days. 

Extract from his speech reads, “They start with Bhai-Jaan Bhai-Jaan, eventually, “Bhai” is removed, only “Jaan” remains. The girl says he is my Bhaijaan, the girl befriends him, either through Facebook or some other means. When the boy from other religion comes to the house, the girl says that he is my Bhai-Jaan. Eventually the boy runs away with the girl, and even you people know what happens next…” 

Through his speech the VHP speaker seems to be creating a fear psychosis in the minds of the people, while demeaning the Muslim minority as sexual predators, and falsely accusing them of engaging in fraudulent marriages for the purpose of love jihad.

Pravin Togadia in Bihar

Prominent leader and president of Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP), Pravin Togadia gave a divisive speech in Gaya, Bihar, on April 3. During this speech, he declaimed that wherever the Islamic forces have had established their rule in the world, they have never been defeated or thrown out except in the case of India. He remarked that “For 500 years the flag of Islam kept furling on the chest of India, and there is only one example in the world, i.e., India, where we have defeated the Islamic rule and replanted it with the saffron flags… but this did not happen through charity, donation, or treaty, it only happened because our forefathers played bloody Holi through the might of their swords.” 

Promoting religious nationalism, Togadia essentially targeted Muslim minority, and promoted religious conception of the polity, going against the principles of secularism and religious neutrality of the State. Even otherwise, the speech leaves impression on the audience that Hindu and Muslims are fundamentally different groups, divided on religious lines, and therefore peace co-existence is difficult between the two communities, if not impossible. 

Advocate Ankur Sharma in Jammu 

The video of the speech delivered in Jammu by Ekam Sanatan Bharat Dal Chief Ankur Sharma was uploaded online by Hindutva Watch (a platform that monitors hate speech) on its telegram channel on April 3. While addressing the crowd, Sharma gave the speech imputing Muslims of Ghazwa-e-Hind (a righteous battle to conquer India), land jihad, and Islamisation. He emphasised the role of Jammu and its overall importance vis-à-vis Kashmir and said that he does not care about Kashmir, but would instead like to see Jammu have its own Chief Minister, underlining the need to setup an exclusively Hindu Union Territory. 

Alleging that Islamic forces and ISI want to Islamise the whole country, he observed that Jammu will be used as a launch pad for that purpose, especially to target North India. He also claimed that Islamisation of Sanatan centre is already an ongoing process, with Amarnath, Chardham, and Haridwar become its victims. Attacking the Roshni Act, he lambasted politicians of Muslim majority Kashmir and said that the Act allowed land jihad by allocating forest and state lands to Muslims, furthering the cause of Islamisation. Cautioning the audience, he remarked that “day is not very far that Jammu will have a similar situation as we had in Kashmir during 90s.”

Hence, through fear mongering and spreading hatred about religious minority, Sharma not only asked them to vote accordingly, but unjustly demonised Muslim community and presented them as a crass religious fundamentalist group.

Bajrang Dal leader in Uttarakhand 

The Bajrang Dal member Vikas Varma delivered the speech in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, addressing the religious gathering on April 2, in which he unfoundedly claimed that 40% of Sikhs in Punjab have converted to Christianity because of missionaries. Expressing disappointment over the situation he said “They are scouting in every colony, in exchange for satiating peoples’ hunger, their religion is being taken away from them. In exchange of rice, their religion is being taken away. And to support such missionary people, there is a huge channel in the country, they are trying to break our community apart.” 

At a time when religious minorities, churches, and mosques are being regularly attacked by fringe right wing elements across the country with almost complete impunity and State backing, such speech spread further enmity between the people in the society on the basis of disinformation and conspiracy theories. In any case, conversion is a matter of personal faith, and even propagation of religion is not debarred under the law. In fact, both of these are part of the fundamental right to religion, protected under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution, therefore any interference in these matters constitute a serious breach of constitutional safeguards. 

Rally in Rajasthan

Though in this case there was no particular individual responsible for making the speech, the rally carried out in Beawar (Rajasthan) on April 2, openly engaged in threatening Islamic preachers and asked them to return back. The mob could be heard making provocation slogan, “Bahari mulle, molwiyon ko band kro (stop entry of Islamic preachers)”. The rally was taken out by the locals against a Madrassa, alleged over the issue of conversion.

Hindu Sena and VHP in Gujarat

 There were two speeches delivered by two separate leaders of Hindu Sena during their events on April 1, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. 

The first speech not only spread conspiracy theories about love jihad but also openly threatened Muslims boys to be thrown out of the city and implicated in police cases if found in any relationship with Hindu girls. Apart from this, the speech was apparently anti-women, completely supressing their agency and voice, and promoted vigilantism. 

The leader of Hindu Sena could be heard saying, “…Today, there is a need for the fourth arm, and Hindu Sena, living within the society will have to be prepared to fight against Jihadi minded goons and Muslims, and for this purpose we all have gathered here…Lot of organisations bring back the sisters and take them to police, they try to make them understand, if they don’t understand, they again try. They bring them (sisters) back to their parents and ask for a written document from a girl and a Muslim boy (to separate). Then they separate, and the boy goes his way. The girl is brought back to her parents and married anew for better life. This boy will again engage in the same activity of love jihad, and trap another girl. We make sure that the Muslim boy does not live in Karnavati (another name for Ahmedabad), and try to see if he can be implicated in some police cases, and his family gets ruined. We are ensuring that his live as a Muslim becomes unliveable, and you and I will continue to do this, and as a part of this exercise you all have to join Hindu Sena.”

In the second speech delivered by another leader of the same organisation, the oath is being administered by the leader to fight as a solider of Hindu Sena against the “challenges” of love jihad and land jihad, and for the protection and preservation of religion and culture. 

Another hate speech was reported in Gujarat on March 31, this time in Vadodara. In the speech made by Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Jaydeep Patel, the themes of love jihad, land jihad, and population jihad remained constant, but additionally, aspersions were cast on informal and gig economy workers, thereby affecting their dignity. 

Speaking on the broader theme of jihad, Patel remarked, “These days, wicked people in name of jihad, love jihad, and land jihad are trying to lure our Hindu sisters and daughters. At our homes, these people are coming to repair TV, fridge, motorcycle, or computer, and they are trained in all these from mosques and madrasas, additionally, they are also given money for doing this (read these activities). And they trap our sisters and daughters in the name of love jihad to increase their population (against us) in this country.” 

Social media influencer Khusbhu Pandey in Jamui (Bihar)

Pandey made a speech on March 31 at Jamui, urging the audience to support one Anup Goswami for his work promoting Sanatana Dharma and preventing love jihad. During the same speech, she used derogatory term for Muslim women, addressing them as Burkhewali (Burqa cladded) and asked Hindu women not to befriend “Burkhewali” and stay away from the attempts to lure them into love jihad. Furthermore, she used misogynistic remarks to address the Bollywood actor Sonakshi Sinha, calling her “nude”. 

The extract from her speech reads, “…so that our sisters and daughter don’t get trapped in some kind of Love Jihad, and befriend a burqa cladded woman, and get trapped by some Abdul. Otherwise, the same thing will happen, you have the news about Shraddha (reference is to Shraddha Walkar)…Through Bollywood, nude women like Sonakshi Sinha are deviating Hindu women. Following the likes of Karina Kapoor Khan, they are becoming victims of Love Jihad. Is our Sanatana Dharma so weak that we will keep shy against these Muslims (katuaye)?

Poet Ram Bhadawar in Madhya Pradesh

Addressing a huge gathering in an event organised on March 13 in Khargone (Madhya Pradesh), Bhadawar accuses Muslims of giving a call on national television to break the temple, and insinuates their unfaithfulness and enmity towards Sanatan Dharma and Hinduism by engaging in the pursuit of Ghazwa-e-Hind. At once, almost in an imploring fashion, he asks Muslims to chant Jai Shree Ram from the mosques to prove their brotherhood. He also targets people who were booked for their CAA protests by the Uttar Pradesh government, and alleged that the protestors were actively engaged in damaging government properties, and praised “Baba” (Yogi Adityanath) for handling such protestors. 

The excerpt from the speech reads, “Some people said that when their time comes, they will demolish temples. This is being said on national television, and the youth of our country is busy spending time on Instagram. The day Lord Ram ignites the attitude in Hindus, and those who are dreaming about Ghazwa-e-Hind should listen that before Ghazwa-e-Hind happens, we will do Bhagwa-e-Hind. Though you broke the temple, we forgive you…in the name of brotherhood, at least open your heart for once, and tell Jai Shree Ram from mosques…Those who want Khalistan, we want their lives.”

While the effect of such speech on the minorities might not be directly felt, it certainly contributes to creating an atmosphere of animosity and unsafe environment for their everyday existence, thereby affecting their exercise of fundamental rights and personal dignity.


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