New Delhi: As news of an event in Haridwar attended by Hindutva leaders that saw open calls for genocide of Muslims spread through social media, several prominent citizens – including two former chiefs of staff – underlined the lack of action against those who launched such calls. Many others have pointed to the silence of the mainstream media about this incident.
In his report on the conclave entitled “Dharma Sansad” or “Religious Parliament”, the Wire noted the presence of “a large number of great religious leaders, right-wing activists, hard-core fundamentalist activists and Hindutva organizations” between December 17 and 19.
Retired Admiral Arun Prakash, former Navy Chief of Staff, was among those who tweeted about the lack of response to what he described as a clear threat to the national security of the ‘India.
“With our jawans facing enemies on two fronts, do we want a communal bloodbath, internal turmoil and international shame? He asked on Twitter.
WHY IS IT NOT STOPPED? With our Jawans facing enemies on 2 fronts, do we want a community bloodbath, internal unrest and international shame? Is it difficult to understand that anything that undermines national cohesion and unity endangers India’s national security? https://t.co/ZwBpEbHVyB
– Arun Prakash (@ arunp2810) 23 December 2021
Admiral Prakash’s tweet received multiple responses, including one from retired General Ved Prakash Malik, former Army Chief of Staff and Army Chief during the Kargil War.
General Malik wrote that such speeches harm national security and also called for action.
Okay. Such rhetoric disturbs public harmony and affects national security. Action required by civil administration.
– Ved Malik (@ Vedmalik1) 23 December 2021
Completely disgusting. If the government does not curb this hate propaganda, it is playing with the security of the country.
– sushant sareen (@sushantsareen) 23 December 2021
RTI activist and congressman from Trinamool, Saket Gokhale, tweeted that he had filed a complaint against the organizers and speakers of the event and that if an FIR is not registered at the police station in Jwalapur, he will file a plea with a judicial magistrate.
I filed a complaint with SHO, Jwalapur PS in Haridwar against the #HaridwarHateAssembly from December 17 to 20 at Ved Niketan Dham.
If an FIR is not registered against the organizers & speakers within 24 hours, a complaint must be filed with the Magistracy. https://t.co/hnUdNiurve pic.twitter.com/Xgv6FCu3ZM
– Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) 23 December 2021
Many social media commentators have used the hashtag “Haridwar hate assembly”. Economist and Congressman Salman Soz noted that the police, bureaucracy and the judiciary must act.
Open threats to kill Indian Muslims. Recording of speeches, possibly with the intention of sharing them on social media. If the politicians fail to act, the police, bureaucracy and the judiciary must act before these fanatics burn India down. #HaridwarHateAssembly @association IAS @IPS_Association https://t.co/ZloE7WMziw
– Salman Anees Soz (@SalmanSoz) 22 December 2021
In a similar call to end the violence, actor Swara Bhaskar tagged the DGP in Uttarakhand.
– Swara Bhasker (@ReallySwara) 22 December 2021
Many pointed to the disparity in responses to hate speech, with one commentator asking if singer Rihanna should be tweeting about the incident in order for it to be broadcast in the news. During the farmer protests earlier this year, a tweet from Rihanna sparked a chain of incidents.
Munawar Faruqui has been ruthlessly punished for alleged jokes he didn’t even make, but there is no action against “Dharm Sansad” members who openly called for genocide against Muslims in Haridwar! Is India still a democracy!#HaridwarHateAssembly
– Dr Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) 23 December 2021
It will take a Rihanna to comment on the #HaridwarHateAssembly for our media to cover it on their channels eh?
– Shreemi Verma (@shreemiverma) 23 December 2021
It is time for PM Narendra Modi to take note of #HaridwarHateAssembly. It’s dangerous, scary, disturbing and the tragedy is that we have to ask ourselves if this is just part of an electoral ecosystem…
– Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) 23 December 2021
Reports and tweets about the Haridwar event – as well as a similar event in Delhi where right-wing participants vowed to “fight, die and kill if necessary”, to make a dream of a “Hindu nation” come true – have also been commented on by international participants. , including tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
What is going on?!? https://t.co/PaUPY2mfsp
– Martina Navratilova (@Martina) 22 December 2021
WTF? It’s scary . How come no one is covering this up? https://t.co/lArHNu4dw6
– Alptekin Ozkilic (@alpozkilicmma) 22 December 2021