Kerala police on Tuesday filed a case against over a 100 BJP workers in the state after communal slogans referencing the 2002 Gujarat riots were raised at its rally in Kozhikode on Monday.
This is not the first time the Gujarat riots have been mentioned during the defence of the Modi government’s controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
BJP’s Karnataka minister CT Ravi had last month had referred to Godhra while responded to Congress MLA UT Khader’s criticism of CAA, saying: “The majority community is being patient. This does not mean that you can provoke people.”
In the communal riots of 2002 in Gujarat, over a thousand people, mostly Muslims, were killed.
This is not even the first time hate speech has been used by BJP members at pro-CAA events.
Just this Sunday, BJP’s Bengal president Dilip Ghosh threatened to shoot and kill those anti-CAA protestors who damaged public property. “Our governments in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Karnataka shot these people like dogs,” Ghosh said.
The same day in UP, BJP leader Raghuraj Singh threatened to bury alive people who raised slogans against PM Narendra Modi and CM Yogi Adityanath. Singh was addressing a pro-CAA rally in Aligarh.
In December, Haryana BJP MLA Leela Ram Gurjar said at an event for CAA that those opposing the Act and NRC could be “wiped out” in an hour.
At the rally in Kozhikode on Monday, BJP workers said, “If you stand against national security, all your mosques will vanish from Indian soil. Do you know who is saying this? This is Hedgewar’s army. This is RSS’ army,” Malayala Manorama quoted.
In a video shared online, the party workers can also be heard saying, “Don’t you remember Gujarat? Remember that before you take us on.”
BJP’s state generally secretary MT Ramesh tried to wash his hands off the incident, saying, “What happened in Kuttiadi was a one-off incident. The slogans do not reflect our party’s policy. It was a huge rally and we could not control the slogans raised by a few.”
But senior BJP leader Kummanam Rajasekharan decided to blame the state police for taking action, saying it was biased. “Anti-CAA protesters say all kinds of things against the Prime Minister and other leaders, but no case is registered. They have booked people from the pro-CAA rally because their voice and strength are growing,” he claimed, according to NDTV.
He seemed to defend the references to Gujarat riots. “I have not heard the video, but taking the name of any state — taking the name of Gujarat — is not wrong. There has been violence in other states too, in Kerala too. Taking the name of a state is not wrong,” Rajasekharan said.
Kozhikode Rural Police chief KG Simon confirmed that the provocative slogans were raised at the rally.
“Shopkeeper and auto drivers in the neighbourhood boycotted the public meet, following which the sloganeering turned communal. However, no violence or clashes was reported during the entire rally,” CI of Kuttiyadi Police station told The NewsMinute.
Police registered a case on the basis of a complaint from the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), the CPI (M)’s youth wing.
“We have registered a case under Section 153 (wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) of the Indian Penal Code. The investigation is on,” a police officer told PTI.
Kerala’s finance minister Thomas Isaac reacted, saying —
On Facebook, Isaac wrote: “The memory of Gujarat riots is our biggest weapon against BJP’s communal agenda.”