The chargesheeting of BJP president Amit Shah and the FIR against the party’s star campaigner Yogi Adityanath by the UP police on the eve of crucial by-elections have again put the spotlight on hate speech.
The two BJP leaders were not the only ones to be recently booked for vitiating the political and communal atmosphere. Nor was the BJP or its saffron allies the only parties responsible.
A quick glance at the wall of shame shows that leaders from the Samajwadi party and Congress too are in the list. Most of the alleged hate speeches happened in Uttar Pradesh. And most of them happened during the bitter campaign for the 2014 general elections.
BJP’s lead campaigner for Uttar Pradesh by-polls Yogi Adityanath made a controversial statement as he blamed a minority community for the recent communal incidents in the state.
“There have been 450 riots cases in west UP in two-and-a-half years of Samajwadi Party (SP) because the population of a particular community is rising manifold. Why are there no riots in eastern UP? You can easily understand,” he said during a recent rally in Noida.
Then defying a ban by the state government, Adityanath on Wednesday addressed an election meeting in which he accused the ruling Samajwadi party of following a communal agenda.
The present BJP president Amit Shah had delivered a speech on April 4 in Muzaffarnagar, a town rocked by communal violence, where he allegedly urged Jats to use the 2014 elections as an opportunity to take “revenge for the insult” during recent riots.
The UP police chargesheeted him on September 10 for his alleged speech.
In April, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) president Pravin Togadia had targeted Muslims buying properties in Hindu areas in Bhavnagar, Gujarat.
Togadia’s remarks that Muslims should be stopped from buying properties in Hindu-majority areas created a furore and invited sharp attacks from various political parties.
Congress leader Imran Masood stirred up a controversy by threatening to “chop Narendra Modi into pieces”. Masood made the speech during the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
“If Modi tries to turn Pradesh into Gujarat, then we will chop him into tiny pieces… I am not scared of getting killed or attacking someone. I will fight against Modi. He thinks UP is Gujarat. Only 4% Muslims are there in Gujarat while there are 42% Muslims in UP,” he said.
A video, that went viral on the web, showed Masood making the comments during an election rally in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.
In April this year, SP leader Azam Khan said India won the Kargil war because of Muslim soldiers and no Hindu soldier was behind the victory.
The remarks were made during a rally in Ghaziabad.
The SP leader had also indirectly called Modi a “dog” in reaction to the latter’s “puppy remark”. Khan also called Amit Shah a “goon”, saying he had come to Uttar Pradesh to “create terror”.
BJP leader Varun Gandhi was booked for an alleged hate speech he made in Pilibhit in the run-up to the 2009 general elections.
The BJP leader was alleged to have said at a party rally on March 6, 2009, “If anyone raises a finger towards Hindus or if someone thinks that Hindus are weak and leaderless, if someone thinks that these leaders lick our boots for votes, if anyone raises a finger towards Hindus, then I swear by the Gita that I will cut that hand.”
Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul Muslimeen’s (MIM) leader Akbaruddin Owaisi was arrested for using inflammatory language against a community in his speeches.
The police registered four cases against Owaisi, the MLA of Chandrayangutta constituency in Hyderabad, on charges of promoting enmity between different groups and waging or attempting to wage war or abetting waging of war against the government of India.
Beni Prasad Verma
Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma alleged that Narendra Modi committed murder at the age of 18 and ran away from home. He also said that several criminal cases were registered against Modi at various police stations in Gujarat.
In another statement, he termed SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav as “communal”, and said he was involved in the conspiracy to demolish Babri Masjid.
BJP leader Giriraj Singh had stoked a controversy during an election meeting in Jharkhand’s Deoghar district by saying that those who opposed Modi should go to Pakistan.
Other leaders who have made hate speeches in the past include Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray for remarks against migrants from Bihar, Shiv Sena’s Ramdas Kadam who said “Modi will destroy Pakistan in six months”, and KPCC president G Parameshwara who said he was waiting for HD Deve Gowda to consume poison.