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Amity in Times of Hate

Ram Puniyani Ram Puniyani
24 Jan 2022

Last month saw a series of incidents which are very disturbing, to say the least. They have been promoting hatred, promoting misogyny, targeting Muslim women and 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 the society.

In the Dharma Sansad held at Haridwar (Uttarakhand), organized by Yati Narsinghanand among others, a lot of saffron-clad ‘sants’ 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 (sic).” Sadhvi Annapurna was no less on spreading hate. She called for murder of 20 lakh people (Muslims) and defended it by saying that it is for our religion while saying “yes, it's our duty". She ended by saying, “We will kill whoever is against our religion".

It is the same Sadhvi who was earlier known as Poonam Shakun Pandey and had pumped three bullets into the effigy of Gandhi a couple of years ago. In the same meeting, Jitendra Tyagi also indulged in hate speech 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 organized in Delhi by the Hindu Yuva Vahini, he administered the oath to nearly 250 youth. “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 Bulli Bai app. Few months ago Sulli Deals app was there. Now Bulli 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 investigation, running over last few years, 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 Bulli Bai app-makers have been arrested, the police did not take any proper action against the Haridwar Sansad. Only Jitentra Tyagi was arrested initially. With the intervention of Supreme Court, the police came into action and arrested Yati. Retired Naval Chiefs in their letter to the President have called for firm action against these hate crimes. The alumni and students/faculty of IIMs/IITs have drawn 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 scattered groups, which identify themselves with Hindu communal nationalist ideology, seem 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 the 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 the Prime Minster, who is  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 supposed 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.

Dharma Sansad was a concept floated by RSS affiliate VHP; it was Dharma Sansad which had initially raised the issue of Ram Temple leading to the Babri demolition and the violence that followed. The root of the ‘hate other’ has travelled a long distance. Starting from the Shakha Bauddhik where Muslim kings are demonized and values of Manusmriti are glorified, we have come a long way. Over the last nine decades multiple organizations 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 Shambhulal Regar, who was intensely involved in social media and went on to kill Afrazul on the issue of love jihad. The four youths arrested for the Bulli 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.

The hesitant police are reluctant to touch the saffron clads. If they are forced to arrest the fringe elements, they do so under some minor clauses leaving the escape route for them. Can PILs in Supreme Court save the country, riddled with politics of hate duly promoted by the deliberate silence of ruling authorities?

While one can pinpoint the source of this hate-call for genocide, one also feels the pain that there has been no organization 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.

One can hope that we will have a ruling party at the Centre which is sensitive to the security to minorities, which will take action against the likes of Yati or the youth making Bulli apps, or effective counter against the wretched use of Tek fog. But, we 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 peace and harmony in the society. These are the essential pre-requisites of social and political-economic development of the country.

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