Following a complaint from Communist Part of India member Kavita Krishnan, the Election Commission of India has sent a letter to Bharatiya Janata Party leader Suvendu Adhikari over a alleged “hate speech” delivered by the candidate from Nandigram during a political rally addressed by him on 29 March in Nandigram, reports Hindustan Times.
In a notice issued on Thursday, 8 April, the commission has flagged the usage of words like ‘begum’ and ‘Mini-Pakistan’, by employing which Adhikari had tried to suggest that voting for Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee – his arch-rival in the Nandigram seat – would turn the state into a ‘mini-Pakistan.’
Based on an authenticated transcript of Adhikari’s speech, the EC has said that the TMC-turned-BJP leader had violated two clauses by criticising the private lives of political opponents and by appealing to “caste & communal feelings.”
Invoking clause 2 and 3 of the Model Code of Conduct, the commission has found alleged communal overtones in Adhikari’s speech.
What Did Adhikari Say in Speech?
According to the written complaint filed by Kavita Krishnan, Adhikari had, during a speech in Nandigram on 29 March, referred to Mamata as a ‘begum,’ whose return to Bengal would turn it into a ‘mini-Pakistan.’
Commenting on Mamata’s choice of words for greetings, Adhikari alleged that she had started using the word ‘Mubarak’ for every occasion and had wished people ‘Holi Mubarak.’
“They have created a small Pakistan in various gram panchayats. If Pakistan wins a cricket match, they burst crackers, distribute sweets and eat meat. Do you want to hand over Nandigram to them... think about it.”Adhikari, as quoted by Krishnan in her complaint.
What Was Krishnan’s Contention?
Krishnan stated that Adhikari was ‘spreading hate’ against widely-sued Urdu words like ‘Mubarak’, while attempting to suggest that a victory for Mamata would lead be akin to handing over the state to Muslim, who would then turn it into a mini-Pakistan.
Calling Indian Muslims Pakistan sympathisers and falsely accusing them of celebrating the victory of Pakistan in cricket matches is “one of the most common ways of instigating hate and violence against the Muslim community,” Krishnan stated.
She also referred to part of Adhikari’s speech in which he allegedly referred to TMC leader Sheikh Sufiyan and said that if Mamata wins, the people of Nandigram will have to go to Sufiyan for all paperwork.
“Is it safe for women to go to Sufiyan’s house? is it safe for anyone,” he allegedly asked. This, Krishnan points out is “blatantly communal” as it implies that a leader poses a threat to women simply because he is a Muslim.
Earlier, the EC has issued a notice to CM Mamata for asking for votes on communal grounds.
(With inputs from Hindustan Times)