Kolkata: Silence engulfed the audience when journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani told them that the biggest producer, director and actors of hate as well as violence in the country is the Indian government itself. The silence made Arfa ask them if they felt that she was exaggerating. She then moved on to say, “I have evidence to support it. As a journalist, this is my work to have facts and figures to support my statement.”
The Delhi-based journalist was speaking to a jam-packed audience at the West Bengal Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat (WBMEM) symposium— Violence Free India: The Way Forward in Kolkata on Sunday evening.
The state is the producer of hate and violence: Arfa
The senior journalist further said, “There is a report by Hindutva Watch that in the first six months of 2023, there were 255 hate speech cases that took place in India. And 80 percent of this happened in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled states.”
Arfa continued, “The organization is based in Washington DC and does not report from the ground. So, they have mentioned only documented incidents. This means the cases could be more. The government has stopped collecting such data in 2017 itself.”
She also mentioned the Washington Post’s investigative report which mentioned that during the Karnataka election, hate was a part of BJP’s election campaign.
At least 1.5 lakh people were employed to spread hate against Muslims and the Congress party and were told to the people that if they wanted to be saved, they should vote for the BJP.
“Every government and prime ministers of India do have their policies and agendas to work for. This government has only an agenda to spread hate and violence,” she added.
Listen to journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani’s speech
Foolish and liar PM: Jaishankar
Earlier to her, a long list of speakers from the organization and special invitees were given a chance to speak. However, it delayed the prominent speakers, who came from outside Kolkata.
Jaishankar Gupta, senior journalist and member of the Press Council of India, another speaker at the event claimed he has not seen a foolish as well as liar Prime Minister like Narendra Modi. He cited many statements from PM Modi to validate it. “What is the biggest trait of our present prime minister, had there been no Gujarat riots, where would he have been? I can vouch that there is no such foolish prime minister anywhere in the world,” Gupta claimed.
The senior journalist pointed out, “He said Nalanda and Takshashila universities in Bihar. Takshshila is in Pakistan. In the same event he said, Sikandar along with his Deen-e-Ilahi drowned here only in Ganga. But Sikandar never comes to this part. And Deen-e-Ilahi was created by Akbar, not Sikandar.”
PM Modi does not know well about his political father either. He said that Shyama Prasad Mukherjee used to go to London and discuss there with Vivekanand. A whole book can be written on his lies. He even said that Guru Gorakhnath, Kabir and Gurunank used to brainstorm. But there are 200 years of difference in their existence.
“He (PM Modi) even lied inside the parliament. He said that the Shimla agreement was between Indira Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto. But no opposition leader replied to him that Benazir was only 16 years old then. Recently, he said that AIIMS has begun in Darbhanga, while it is non-existent till now,” added Gupta.
Insecure politicians promote violence
Magsaysay Award winner Sandeep Pandey pointed out that while the voting pattern is different in Uttar Pradesh, both Hindu-Muslim people are co-existing in the state. “In Gujarat, cities like Ahmedabad, Hindus and Muslims are living in different localities. In Hindu areas, you will not meet Muslim residents and in Muslim areas, Hindus do not reside. But the situation in UP is not like that.”
Former Supreme Court judge Ashok Ganguly claimed that most political leaders are insecure so they promote violence. They feel that they will lose the next election if they do not promote violence.
The retired justice also said, “There has been violence done by the Supreme Court as well in the Babri Masjid case. When ASI in its report had said that there was no temple structure inside Babri Mosque, then how can they give a decision in favour of Hindus? By what logic it was done? This is promoting violence.”
Senior Congress leader Tarique Anwar also addressed the gathering.
At the beginning of the event, a poem was recited by the Muslim people of Manipur on the five months long ethnic cleansing in the state.
The general secretary of WBMEM, Manzar Jameel explained to the audience the need for having chosen the topic for the symposium. He cited many recent incidents of violence in which from minority communities to Dalit and Adivasis all faced many attacks and it is increasing day by day.