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Festival of hate

BJP govt seals lips on calls to kill Muslims, establish Hindu Rashtra

The questions on the Haridwar event were put to Hardeep Singh Puri but he deflected them towards Trivedi

J.P. Yadav New Delhi Published 25.12.21, 01:45 AM
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Friday.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Friday. PTI Photo

Oct. 2020: Malayalam journalist Siddique Kappan arrested in Uttar Pradesh for allegedly “plotting” to create trouble. Has been in jail since.

Dec. 2021: A conclave of sadhus in Haridwar calls for killing and wiping out Muslims. Five days on, one attendee booked but none of the organisers or those filmed delivering purported hate speeches booked or arrested.


The BJP on Friday dodged The Telegraph’s questions on the calls sounded to “kill” Muslims and establish a Hindu Rashtra at a conclave of sadhus last week, while WhatsApp messages to government representatives drew a blank despite blue ticks suggesting they had been read.

This newspaper had sent messages to the government’s principal spokesperson and the officer in charge of the PMO at the Press Information Bureau, asking whether the Centre endorsed the conclave’s stand on a Hindu Rashtra.

At a media briefing at the BJP headquarters here, party spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi stonewalled this newspaper’s face-to-face questions on the December 17-19 Dharma Sansad in Haridwar, saying the queries should be put to the organisers and that the BJP believed in “taking everyone along”.

At one point, Trivedi appeared to suggest the questions should be put to Rahul Gandhi, a leader of the Opposition. The BJP is the party in power in Uttarakhand, of which Haridwar is a part, and at the Centre.

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri and Trivedi, party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP, were addressing the media briefing, called to castigate the Opposition for obstructing Parliament while claiming that the government was ready to discuss every issue.

The questions on the Haridwar event were put to Puri but he deflected them towards Trivedi.

“I would like to know the BJP’s response to a Dharma Sansad in Haridwar, from where an open call to kill Muslims to establish a Hindu Rashtra was given,” this newspaper said.

“Dharma Sansad ke vishay ke upar aap Dharma Sansad walon se puchhenge (You should put any question on the Dharma Sansad to those who had organised it),” Trivedi said.

Trivedi started to say that the BJP didn’t speak on any “sampradayik” (sectarian) issue but left the sentence incomplete.

“Hum toh kisi bhi prakar ke na sampradayik vishay par…” he said, stopping abruptly and going on to add: “Hum toh sampoorn samaj ko saath leke chalne ki baat karte hain (We talk about taking everyone along).”

Trivedi then gave a short lecture on how India was a “dharmpran” (religious) country.

When this newspaper pressed on, asking “As a ruling party shouldn’t the BJP respond over a dangerous call given publicly,” Trivedi seemed to suggest that Rahul Gandhi was the right person to answer the query.

“Maine toh apna response de diya bhai. Ye Hindu aur Hindutva walon se toh response lijiye na bhai (I have given my response. Please seek a response from those talking about ‘Hindu’ and ‘Hindutva’),” Trivedi said.

Rahul has been drawing a distinction between a tolerant and accommodating Hinduism and a bigoted Hindutva.

A video shows the Haridwar conclave’s avowed organiser Yati Narasinghanand Saraswati, VHP official and mahant from Ghaziabad, purportedly telling the gathering: “You cannot use a mere sword to kill Muslims…. You have to upgrade technically as they have sophisticated weapons.”

In another video, Dharamdas Maharaj, a sadhu from Bihar, appears to say: “When I read that our (then) PM said Muslims had first right over national resources, I thought that if I were an MP (with access to Parliament) and had a revolver, I would have become Nathuram Godse and pumped six bullets into the chest of Manmohan Singh.”

Narasinghanand has not yet been booked, nor has Dharamdas for saying he wanted to kill a Prime Minister. But 16 writers, rights activists, lawyers and academics have been arrested — and held for years in jail without trial — in connection with an alleged Maoist plot to assassinate current Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

There’s no record of Manmohan Singh having ever said what Dharamdas accused him of saying.

Although Trivedi would not comment on the sadhus’ inflammatory remarks, he attacked Asaduddin Owaisi at the media interaction on being asked about a video that purportedly shows the AIMIM leader threatening police during a campaign speech in Kanpur.

“Yeh jo baki partyian hain na, Samajwadi Party aur ye sab, unpe toh Jinnah ka saya hai, aur inme (Owaisi) toh Jinnah ki ruh hai,” he said.

A rough translation: “These other parties, Samajwadi Party and the rest, are under the shadow of Muhammad Ali Jinnah; and in this person (Owaisi) resides Jinnah’s soul itself.”

Owaisi said in a tweet on Friday that a truncated portion of his speech had been put out to misrepresent his comments, made in connection with alleged police atrocities on Muslims on Yogi Adityanath’s watch.

He said this clip of his speech was being circulated to distract attention from the call given to kill Muslims at the Haridwar conclave.

“In order to distract from the #HaridwarGenocideMeet, a clipped 1 min video is being circulated from 45 min speech I gave in Kanpur. I’ll set the record straight,” Owaisi tweeted, posting a purported video of his full speech.

“1. I did not incite violence or give threats. I talked about police atrocities. Here’s the full video in two parts. 2. As you can see in the above video & the one here, I was talking about police atrocities in Kanpur and addressing such cops who think they have immunity to violate people’s liberties because of Modi-Yogi. 3. I said do not confuse our silence for acquiescence.”

Owaisi had in the speech warned (errant) cops that chief minister Adityanath and Prime Minister Modi would not be in power forever to protect them, and that Muslims “will not forget your injustice”.

Additional reporting by Anita Joshua

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