Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Video Editors: Prajjwal Kumar, Abhishek Sharma
Rajasthan BJP leader and former party MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja has been caught on camera urging a crowd to "kill anyone involved in cow slaughter" and boasting, "We have so far killed five people, be it in Lalawandi or Behror. I have given free hand to workers to kill. We will get them acquitted and secure bail."
However, it is not clear whether Ahuja was referring to these cases.
The BJP leader has been booked by the Alwar Police for allegedly promoting hatred and enmity.
But this isn’t the first time Ahuja is openly inciting violence. In fact, if anything, the BJP leader is a repeat offender.
From 2013 to 2018, Ahuja was the BJP MLA from Ramgarh in Rajasthan’s Alwar district. During his tenure, Alwar witnessed repeated instances of mob violence against Muslims, crimes which Ahuja seemingly defended in public time and time again.
Not His First Time Threatening and Endorsing Violence
Pehlu Khan was lynched in public view in April 2017. Umar Khan was shot dead in November 2017, a murder that two ‘gau rakshaks’ owned up to. And Rakbar Khan was killed in July 2018. Do you know what was common to all three incidents?
They all took place in Rajasthan’s Alwar. And they weren’t even the only ones.
In December 2017, a Muslim man named Zakir Khan was allegedly beaten up severely by a mob in Alwar. Following the violence inflicted upon him, Zakir himself was arrested on the suspicion of cow smuggling.
Reacting to the news of the attack on Zakir, Ahuja had said, “Mera toh seedha seedha kehna hai ki gautaskari aur gaukashi karoge to yu hi maroge (I will only say that if you smuggle and slaughter cows, then you will be killed).”
Despite not having been present at the time of the alleged violence on Zakir, Ahuja also refuted all allegations that Zakir was beaten by the mob. He claimed, “As the public was following the truck, it overturned, resulting in injuries. Now, he is saying that villagers beat him up. I have taken details of the case from the SHO. The people didn’t beat him. He was injured because the vehicle overturned.”
And in what appeared to be another contradictory statement given that he was claiming the mob did not assault Zakir, Ahuja seemingly defended the violence by saying, "People do get angry, do get filled with angst because in India, the cow is seen as a mother."
After Rakbar Khan’s Lynching, Ahuja’s Reaction: ‘Cow Slaughter Bigger Crime Than Terrorism’
Days after a Muslim man named Rakbar Khan was assaulted by a mob in Alwar and died shortly afterwards in police custody, MLA Gyan Dev Ahuja was said to have heaped praise on the cow vigilantes who were allegedly responsible for the attack.
The Times of India had reported that on a visit to Lalawandi village, where the attack had occurred, Ahuja lauded the alleged cow vigilantes, who had by then been arrested, and called them "patriots." He also alleged that the police were hand-in-glove with cow smugglers.
Ahuja went on to comment publicly, “Cow slaughtering is a bigger crime than terrorism. Terrorists kill two to three people, but when a cow is killed, sentiments of crores of Hindus are hurt.”
And yet again, in a statement seemingly justifying mob violence, Ahuja said in July 2018, just over a week after the attack on Rakbar Khan, “If cows are killed, people will be angry and cow smugglers will face consequences.”
JNU’s Condom Count, and Other Claims
At the height of the JNU row in February 2016, Ahuja had grabbed national headlines for claiming that thousands of condoms were found on the university campus daily.
Ahuja had alleging that the premier university is a hub of sex and drugs where over 3,000 used condoms and 2,000 liquor bottles are found daily.
“More than 10,000 butts of cigarettes and 4,000 pieces of beedis are found daily in the JNU campus. 50,000 big and small pieces of bones are left by those eating non-vegetarian food. They gorge on meat... these anti-nationals. 2,000 wrappers of chips and namkeen are found, as also 3,000 used condoms — the misdeeds they commit with our sisters and daughters there. And 500 used contraceptive injections are also found.”Gyan Dev Ahuja
Besides this, 2,000 liquor bottles as also over 3,000 beer cans and bottles are daily detected in the campus, he claimed. “Who drinks it? Take a guess,” he said.
Addressing a protest march in Alwar attacking JNU students, the BJP MLA went on to claim, “Students are mostly found taking drugs after 8 pm inside the campus. Those studying in JNU are not children, many are parents of even two children. They indulge in peace protests in the mornings and during the nights, they perform obscene dance.”
Incidentally, just a year earlier, on 2 Feb 2015, Dainik Bhaskar had reported that Ahuja and some other BJP leaders of the Rajasthan unit were caught dancing and showering money on female dancers at a Lohri Mela organised by the Youth Punjabi Seva Samiti.
Back to the 2016 JNU row though.
At the time, even as his remarks fuelled an ongoing controversy and Ahuja was questioned about his claims, the BJP leader had doubled down by saying, “I will hold a long press conference and in an organised manner, I will display the evidence.”
Ahuja is not known to have ever displayed the said ‘evidence’ in the six and a half years since.
However, in May 2016, Ahuja had continued his tirade against JNU by claiming, “I stand by what I said. Rapes happen daily in JNU. It is a hub of criminal activities.”
In 2018, the Exit and the BJP-Wapsi
On 19 November 2018, furious over being denied an Assembly election ticket by the BJP, Ahuja had quit the party. He then announced he would contest as an independent from the Sanganer seat.
“I will contest as an Independent on issues like Ram Janmabhoomi, cow protection and Hindutva,” Ahuja had said.
But exactly three days later, he returned to the BJP fold, and the party offered him the position of a vice-president of BJP’s Rajasthan unit.
And to this day, Ahuja continues to remain a prominent BJP leader in Rajasthan, and also one who is unafraid of publicly encouraging and inciting mob violence.