IMPUNITY FOR ABUSERS, PUNISHMENT FOR VICTIMSby HUMRA QURAISHI September 26 2023, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 22 secs
Comments of the BJP MP from South Delhi made in the Lok Sabha during the special session in the new parliament building, reveal the utter decay and degeneration of Indian politics, writes Humra Quraishi.
The language used by Ramesh Biduri was communal, hate-filled and condemnable. He must be punished for having the gall to stand in the temple of democracy and speak so venomously against the Muslim community.
Going by what he said to the Bahujan Samaj Party Member of Parliament Danish Ali, one can well imagine the filth on his mind when he speaks casually in public and on the streets. As a matter of fact, he has brought into the parliament a hostile language spoken commonly on the streets by the people motivated and driven by the Hindutva ideology. It’s hard to accept where the already deeply divided Indian society is headed from here. The greater tragedy is that Ramesh Biduri was elected as a member of parliament from the rich and elite constituency of South Delhi.
In the backdrop of this incident remains the grim fact that this is not the first time a parliamentarian has used such obnoxious-communal language on the largest minority community of India, the Muslims. Each time that politicians like Biduri go unpunished, and are rewarded for their behaviour, we find the levels of impunity rise. We have witnessed in the last nine years, that after the Biduris and Thakurs have made it to the headlines with hate speech, the next destination promised to them by their bosses is a plum post.
In the spring of 2015, I travelled to Agra to attend a writers’ retreat and I spent a day at the Fatehput Sikri. It was relaxing amid the grandeur of the fort and the calm at the dargah of Saleem Chishti. The greenery spread itself out, and quaint little shops selling ethnic stuff to desi and videshi visitors was heart-warming.
Just after a year, in the spring of 2016, I travelled once again to the same city and noticed a drastic change in the atmosphere. I sensed a hopelessness among the people of the historic township, and the national dailies were splashed with communal speeches of the BJP MPs - from Fatehpur Sikri, Babu Lal, and Agra, Ram Shankar Katheria - who was then the Minister of State in the HRD Ministry.
What shocked the Muslims was that the politicians were not arrested or charged for hate speech, even after they had openly and publicly humiliated them, going to the extent of calling Muslims ‘demons…descendants of Ravana!’
This trend over the last nine years of the Right-Wing led government is now easily recognisable as a tactic used by the divisive politics of Hindutva to drum up Hindu support from the heartland where the majority community is unnecessarily made to feel persecuted. The Whatsapp forwards of the IT cells of the ruling government tell the story of how innocent people are being systematically misinformed so that they fear the Muslims and distance themselves from them. On the other side are the Muslims, Christians and Sikhs, smaller in numbers, subjected to relentless abuse – they have been silenced and worry for the safety of their families and themselves.
At the very start of 2020, it’s the likes of Kapil Mishras and Parvesh Vermas who gave speech after speech, mouthing unthinkable hatred. They were so brazen, so not afraid of consequences. In 2019, Ananth Kumar Hegde spoke these revengeful words: “Hands that touch Hindu girls should be chopped off!” Earlier he was found provoking the minority community by saying, “Till Islam is in the world there can be no end to terrorism!” He remains untouched.
In 2018, Right Wing MP, Vinay Katiyar said that Indian Muslims ought to go to Pakistan! In the year 2017 Sakshi Maharaja and several other Hindutva devotees had stated in public that Muslim men marry four times and produce 40 children! Then Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti had also heaped abuses like Haramzada upon the Muslims.
Sangeet Som’s communal speeches in Western Uttar Pradesh, threatening to ignite violence also remain unpunished - he was implicated in the Muzaffanagar riots of 2013 and also accused of stoking communal tensions in Dadri’s Bisada village after the killing of Mohammed Akhlaq).
BJP’s MLA from the Goshamahal constituency in Hyderabad, T Raja Singh, went scot-free after mouthing death threats to all those who come in way of the Ram Temple construction. He said, “If there is anybody who has the guts to say he will stop the construction of Ram Mandir at Ayodhya, let him come forward. I will behead him. Uttar Pradesh has witnessed timid governments in the past, but now, you have a powerful government. Baap ki sarkar!”
Just days after declaring that India will become a Hindu nation by 2024, Uttar Pradesh’s BJP MLA Surendra Singh announced, “Those who desist from saying ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ are Pakistanis!” I could go on …the list is long.
The Sangeet Soms, Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, Giriraj Singh, Katiyar, Sakshi Maharajas, Togadias, Hedges, have openly threatened, abused, taunted sections of the minority community, but they roam free, fearing nobody, expecting rewards.