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Islamaphobic rhetoric incited at a protest led by BJP leader

Ashwini Upadhyay led a mob to protest at Jantar Mantar on Sunday, making provocations at the Muslim community living in India. According to Police, the protesters had no permission to carry out the rally.

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On Sunday, a march was organized against the “colonial-era laws” led by Supreme Court lawyer and former Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay, who amassed hundreds in the capital. Soon after, Twitter was swarmed with videos of people chanting anti-Muslim slogans and hyping inflammatory remarks.

The BJP leader set up the protest as part of the “Bharat Jodo campaign” (Unite India Campaign) but he could not be reached out by media outlets later.

The media in-charge person for the Bharat Jodo campaign, Shipra Srivastava said, “We were there to protest against those laws and for a Uniform Civil Code because our demand was that there should be one rule in one country.”

She claimed that “there was no such (inflammatory) slogan in my knowledge…there were 5,000 people and if five-six people in some corner would be shouting such slogans, then we disassociate ourselves from them.”

Read more: Pakistani experts warn of massive refugee influx from India as Islamophobia puts millions at risk

Senior police officer Deepak Yadav was questioned about the purported videos and he stated, “We are verifying all the video clips.” However, he did not disclose much information on the total number of people at the event.

Authorities shared that this event had not received a permit due to covid protocols but people started gathering in groups and protested peacefully. While dispersing from the event, suddenly these provocative, anti-Muslim slogans poured out. One of the slogans recorded in the videos is:

Hindustan mein rehna hoga toh ‘Jai Shree Ram’ kehna hoga (If you want to live in Hindustan, you must say ‘Jai Shree Ram’).”

At the event, Pritam, a journalist was also harassed by the mob when he asked them about Modi’s government fulfilling their promises to them. However, they got aggressive and labelled him as “jihadi” and if he’s not then to prove he must chant with them and make their views known. Instead, he responded:

“I am aware that Jai Shri Ram is a political slogan…This slogan is more about hatred for Muslims than devotion [for Hindu deity Ram].”

The police personnel present there did not help him when he was being assaulted for maintaining his ground.

Islamophobia under BJP

Under the BJP government, religious and communal extremism has taken from the streets to the policy level. It weaponizes minorities, especially Muslims as a threat to the Indian state.

These antics have been ever-present in BJP’s policy but became common especially after the Citizenship Act Amendment (CAA) in 2019. Anti-CAA protests erupted from the Muslim and farmer community.

Prime Minister Modi himself stated that the traitors and terrorists could be simply identified from their burkas, hijabs, skull caps, and beards. Moreover, this incident follows up right after Hindutva groups held a congregation, in Dwarka to protest against the construction of a Haj House.

Read more: BJP-RSS’ ‘koota yuddha’ on Muslims and misinformed Islamophobia

Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta was also present at the Dwarka event where insensitive remarks and threats were being made. Twitter and other social media platforms raged against this incident:

 

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