From Amit Shah’s ‘Termites’ Remark To Anurag Thakur’s ‘Goli Maaro’ Slogan, BJP Leaders’ Anti-Muslim Tirade

As Islamic nations condemn India, some point out that it has previously been missing while the ruling parties’ leaders have denigrated Muslims and hate crimes against the minority population have continued in India.

Commuters drive past posters demanding the arrest of suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma following her remarks on Prophet Muhammad, in Ahmedabad, Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (PTI Photo)

New Delhi: India’s diplomatic woes are far from over as nations including the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) register their protest against the derogatory remarks made on Prophet Mohammed by leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Yet, there are many who have also pointed out that these nations have taken an unprecedented stand now, which has previously been missing while the ruling parties’ leaders have denigrated Muslims and hate crimes against the minority population have continued.

In one instance from the year 2020, the OIC, the Kuwait government and UAE Princess Hend al-Qassimi had in different ways called out what they said was “Islamophobic hate speech” by Indians when the country’s Muslims were accused of spreading Covid-19. During the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, authorities accused a Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Delhi of spreading the virus and booked several foreign nationals, later acquiting 36 of them of charges of breaking Covid-19 guidelines.

But what about leaders and their hate speeches? The US State department’s annual report on religious freedom, released recently, highlighted the reported crimes against minorities in India, where they said, “Politicians made inflammatory public remarks or social media posts about religious minorities.” It had in particular pointed to Uttarakhand BJP president Mandan Kaushik who had in October 2021 told the media, “Our party line is clear that no [religious] conversion [from Hinduism] will be tolerated.”

It also gave the example from May, when the Assam government removed theological content from the curriculum of more than 700 state-run madrassas and state-run Sanskrit schools, which converted them into regular public schools. “Analysts indicated that madrassas were impacted in greater numbers,” the US report had added.

A spate of vitriol by BJP’s prominent leaders was seen before the 2020 Delhi Assembly Elections, which was right around when the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests were taking place. The Act, giving eligibility of citizenship to illegal migrants of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian faiths from Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan, left out the Muslims.

It had seen BJP leaders like Union Minister Anurag Thakur, MP Parvesh Singh Verma, Delhi MLA Abhay Verma and Kapil Mishra vociferously raise slogans against the protestors and make communally charged comments. And while the Delhi Police did not register an FIR against them, the videos of their statements at public events, were well documented. After the elections, on February 23, the city saw deadly communal riots which left at least 53 dead – majority of them Muslims – and hundreds injured.

During election rallies, Thakur had started the inflammatory chant, “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaron salo ko. (Shoot the traitors of the country.)” The same slogan was allegedly repeated by Delhi MLA Abhay Verma.

In another election rally, BJP MP Parvesh Singh Verma had warned the Hindus that the protesters of Shaheen Bagh — largely Muslim women leading the agitation against the CAA — would come to their homes, and kill and rape their women.

BJP MLA from Delhi’s Karawal Nagar, Kapil Mishra had warned the police to clear the roads on which sit-in protests were taking place, or see matters taken into the people’s hands. Mishra in fact is a serial offender. In 2019, he had tweeted, “If you want pollution to come down, then you should reduce these firecrackers and not the ones burst on Diwali,” along with a photo of a man with a skull cap, women in burqa and several children standing next to them. When Gurgaon was witnessing Hindutva groups preventing Muslims from praying on grounds given to them by the government for namaz, Mishra attended a Puja organised on one of those sites.

The Gurugram administration also went on to withdraw permission to offer namaz at eight out of 37 designated sites. As per their official statement from the district administration, the permission was cancelled after an objection from local people and Resident Welfare Association.

On the matter of the CAA, there’s also Union Home Minister Amit Shah – then the president of the BJP – who in his speech during the Lok Sabha 2019 election campaigning called Muslim Bangladeshi immigrants’ “termites”. In his rally in West Bengal, he said, “A Bharatiya Janata Party government will pick up infiltrators one by one and throw them into the Bay of Bengal.”