Sadhus have called for genocide against Muslims; now one has been heard purportedly threatening to rape Muslim women.
A video emerged on social media on Friday showing a clean shaven man in saffron robes speaking with a megaphone from inside an SUV, threatening to kidnap and rape Muslim women if any Hindu woman was molested in the area.
Several social media users identified the speaker as Mahant Bajrang Muni Das of the Maharishi Sri Laxman Das Udasin Ashram in the Khairabad area of Sitapur, 80km from Lucknow.
People in Sitapur told journalists the comments were made during a Navaratri procession the mahant had organised on April 2.
Muni Das, a man in his late 30s, told reporters the audio was doctored but did not directly deny the comments.
The speaker in the video says: “I am saying this with love for you that I will publicly drag your daughters-in-law and daughters out of your homes and rape them if any Hindu girl is molested in Khairabad.”
He adds: “Muslims will be killed if any Hindu is killed here.”
A crowd chants “Jai Shri Ram” and “Baba ki jai ho (Victory to Baba)”.
A mosque resembling the Shishe Wali Masjid of Sitapur can be seen in the background. Several policemen are seen standing and listening.
The speaker continues: “They have collected Rs 28 lakh in a piggery to have me murdered. Members of the piggery, listen to me, there will neither be the piggery nor its residents.”
Local people said the speaker was alluding to the local Muslim neighbourhood. Muslims are prohibited from raising pigs, which they see as unclean.
On Friday afternoon, Sitapur police tweeted in Hindi: “A case has been filed in Khairabad police station against the accused and action will be initiated against him on the basis of available evidence.”
The tweet didn’t name anyone.
National Commission for Women chairperson Rekha Sharma tweeted that the panel had written to the state police chief to have an FIR registered and the accused arrested.
Muni Das confirmed to reporters that he was the sadhu in the video but added: “It (audio) was tampered with. It was posted on Twitter by one Mohammed Zubair. His Twitter handle should be checked.”
He added: “He posts only anti-Hindu messages. If he were secular, he would have also criticised the Muslims who make hate statements against Hindus. But he posts only those speeches in which the Hindus are seen as angry.”
After a video of Muni Das’s comments to the reporters too made it to social media, Zubair wrote: “When exposed, this so called ‘Mahant’ who gave rape threats is doing whataboutery by blaming me. What next? File an FIR against me for sharing his video?”
Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said Bajrang Muni, who wears saffron robes, had insulted the Hindu religion and the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, mocking the law and order under him, with the rape threat. She appealed to chief minister Yogi Adityanath to ensure justice and take the strictest action, reminding him that he too wears saffron. Shrinate asked Adityanath to keep the honour of the saffron robes, the Hindu religion and the state’s law and order in mind while ordering the action.
Several sadhus had at a Dharma Sansad in Haridwar last December called for genocide against Muslims to establish a Hindu Rashtra.
One of them, Ghaziabad mahant Yati Narasinghanand Saraswati, again urged Hindus last Sunday, at a “Hindu Mahapanchayat” in Delhi, to pick up weapons against Muslims.
Narasinghanand had received bail after his arrest in Uttarakhand in January.