23, Feb 2023 | CJP Team
“Public figures” no longer different between exchange of ideas and sharp words. In ‘new’ India, debate has descended to mud-slinging, slur and abuse. Hence making Islamophobic comments while promoting stereotypes against a minority community fits well with this trend for favoured fim-maker of the New Delhi regime, Vivek Agnihotri.
Not so far back, Vivek Agnihotri used a public platform to stigmatise Muslims, again.
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A few days ago, Vivek Agnihotri’s had posted the news that his film, alleged by many to reflect one-sided propaganda. The Kashmir Files, had won the Best Film Award at the Dada Saheb Phalke Award 2023. He had added that he dedicates this award to “all the victims of terrorism, and to all the people of India for your blessings.”
Since the release of The Kashmir Files on March 11, 2022, while right wing supporters and audiences had cheered the release, others –including Kashmiri Pandit organization Kashmiri Pandit Sangharsh samite (KPSS) had sharply criticised the movie for exaggerating facts, sparking undue controversy, and show-casing all Muslim Kashmiris in a bad light. Eyebrows were raised therefore when Agnihotri tweeted the news that his movie was awarded the coveted Dada Sahab Phalke award.
Mohammed Zubair, of the fact checking website, Alt News then tweeted a fact-check on the same and clarified that Agnihotri’s tweet regarding winning the prestigious government award was misleading as his movie had won an award at a festival named after Phalke, and not the prestigious DadaSaheb Phalke award.
Md. Zubair had also tweeted a picture of a post put up by Agnihotri, wherein he had said that Fact checking is the biggest media extortion, and is run by terror organisations. Referring to this same, MD. Zubair had captioned his tweet as “this is Mr. Vivek Agnihotri hates fact checkers.”
Another fact checking site had also posted a similar clarification about the film and the award!
Offended by the tweets mentioned above, Vivek Agnihotri then tweeted “No, my dear… I don’t hate fact-checkers, I hate when puncture repairers pretend to be fact checkers. Because you are nothing but just a jehadi pimp of India’s enemies & I know very well who is behind you. हरज़िहादीकावक़्तआताहैऔरतेरावक़्तजल्दीआनेवालाहै, संभलकेरहो” (The time for every ‘Jehadi’ comes, and your time is coming soon, be careful.)
The term ‘Puncture Repairers’ is a derogatory term used for the Muslim Community, used in order to depict that most of the Muslims are illiterates and thus, open their puncture repair shops. The term ‘jehadi’ is used by the right wingers too loosely nowadays, with the aim of projecting them as an enemy of the nation.
To this, Zubair had replied by tweeting “Words like “Jihadi” or “Puncture wala” against Muslims were earlier used by faceless Right Wing trolls. It is now openly being used by Verified trolls like Agnihotri.” Through this tweet, Zubair had brought forth the sense of impunity that is present in people backed up the Right wing, so much so that they are now openly using terms that are derogatory to a minority community. But, even this did not deter Vivek Agnihotri from riding the communal high horse, and he further posted a picture of a Puncture repair shop whose owner name was also written ad Mohammed Zubair. He had captioned the tweet as “please fact-check this.” To this, Zubair tweeted that “Most of your fake and communally misleading claims are punctured here.”
While Zubair’s reply might appear amusing to some, owing to the thick-skin he has had to develop in order to be able to do his work, this incident brings out how people now have no sense of fear before openly saying derogatory words on public platforms. Demeaning language is now used by leaders and faces of the Right wing, with no fear of any consequence or backlash.
The right-wing Hindu nationalist, read supremacists group openly espouse a violent sentiment toward liberals and minorities – including India’s 200 million Muslims, who make up 15% of the country’s 1.3 billion population. Even though India prohibits hate speech under several sections of its penal code, including a section which criminalises “deliberate and malicious acts” intended to insult religious beliefs, the government’s silence has only emboldened these the supports of the Right Wing further.
On the one hand, the members and supporters of the Right Wing are being given a free hand at “expressing” their beliefs and opinions, most of which are targeted against the gender, religious and caste minorities, people protesting against the Government or support Left inclined ideology are illegally jailed or their words banned.
Image Courtesy: thefederal.com