‘BJP Leader Said Don’t Spare Muslims’ Alleges Delhi Riots Survivor
BJP leader Kulwant Baath said “Don’t spare Muslims, they’re protesting too much” alleges complaint by NE Delhi local
“Inn ka**o ko aaj chhodna nahi hai, ye sa**e bohat CAA aur NRC ke khilaf protest kar rahe hain, inko aisa sabak sikhana hai ki inki nasle yaad rakhe.”
(Let us not spare these Muslims, they’re protesting too much against CAA and NRC. Let us teach them such a lesson, that even their future generations remember.”)
This is what Delhi BJP vice-president Kulwant Singh Baath allegedly said on 25 February, during the Northeast Delhi riots, according to a complaint filed at Delhi’s Usmanpur Police Station.
The complaint was filed on 29 April by a resident of Sudamapuri near Bhajanpura. Copies of the complaint have been sent to the DCP (Northeast Delhi), police commissioner of Delhi, Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and the Union Home Minister amongst others.
This is among a series of complaints filed by different individuals, claiming to be eyewitnesses and alleging the involvement of several BJP leaders in the communal violence that took place in the last week of February.
The Quint has reported on these allegations. These include former MLAs Jagdish Pradhan and Kapil Mishra, East Delhi Municipal Corporation councillor Kanhaiya Lal and self-styled Hindutva leader Ragini Tiwari.
The complaint against Baath accuses him of giving a hate speech at Sudamapuri in Gamdi near Bhajanpura on 25 February, in the thick of the riots.
Besides being vice-president of Delhi BJP, Baath is also the husband of Gurjeet Kaur, the BJP councillor from Bhajanpura in the East Delhi Municipal Corporation. The Quint has reached out to Baath for his response to the allegations as well.
The complainant has narrated what he claims to have seen and heard on 24 and 25 February.
It begins with what happens at 11:00 am on 25 February, when the complainant’s father gets a call from a Hindu friend. The friend warned his father “to stay indoors” as a mob led by a local gangster “is coming to attack their area”.
"My father became petrified. In the mean time, a large mob began chanting slogans like 'Goli Maaro Saalo ko, Desh ke Gaddaro ko' (shoot the traitors), 'Mulle, Ka**on ke do hi sthan, Qabristan ya Pakistan' (There are only two places for Muslims, the graveyard or Pakistan)' and 'Kulwant Singh Zindabad', 'Kapil Mishra Zindabad', 'Ajay Mahawar Zindabad'. They were carrying guns and firing them as they moved ahead," the complainant alleges.
Besides guns, the mob was carrying sticks, iron rods and petrol bombs, claims the complainant.
According to the complainant, this is the moment when they saw Kulwant Singh Baath speak. This is what the complaint says:
“I saw Kulwant Singh Band (sic), husband of municipal councillor Gurjeet Kaur, come. With him were police personnel. He gave a speech on a battery-operated microphone and said ‘Inn ka**o ko aaj chhodna nahi hai, ye saale bohat CAA aur NRC ke khilaf protest kar rahe hain, inko aisa sabak sikhana hai ki inki nasle yaad rakhe’
(Don’t spare these Muslims, they’re protesting too much against CAA and NRC. Teach them such a lesson that even future generations remember)”
The complainant claims that Baath also said "inki masjid mein bhi aag laga do aur sab loot lo" (set fire to their mosque and loot everything as well.)
“Because of this the mob went out of control,” the complainant adds.
Kulwant Baath’s Response
The Quint spoke at length to Kulwant Singh Baath to get his response to the allegations as well as about his association with the BJP.
“See the atmosphere was extremely charged. These Muslims were pelting stones, breaking vehicles. I was getting calls from several people asking me to do something. Even my daughter who was coming back from school, was stuck in a jam because of the violence,” he said.
Baath denies making any hate speech.
“I didn’t make any hate speech or incite any violence. All I did was to urge Union Home Minister Amit Shah to intervene and stop the violence. All that I said is there in the viral video”.Kulwant Singh Baath
This is the video Baath is referring to.
Baath says he shot this video on Bhajanpura main road on the first day of the violence (24 February). He claims he got threats from “Khalistanis” because of this video.
The BJP leader also says that he didn’t go to Sudamapuri area - where the complainant lives - during that riots. He says he went many days after the riots, for relief work.
“I didn’t speak against any community. In fact, I helped a Mohammedan family reach a safe location. Local Sikhs were helping them, so I told the police to escort them to safety,” he claimed.
The police hasn’t questioned Baath so far.
No, the police hasn’t questioned me regarding the riots. In fact, I am hearing about this complaint for the first time from you.Kulwant Singh Baath
The Quint reached out to Delhi Police PRO MS Randhawa and DCP (Northeast District) Ved Prakash Surya to ask them if an FIR had been registered against Baath, but there has been no response from them so far. We will update the copy if they respond.
We have withheld the identity of the complainant, but we are willing to share it with the police if called upon to do so.
Delhi BJP’s Sikh Face With Roots in RSS Affiliate
Now who is Kulwant Singh Baath?
According to Baath, he has been associated with the BJP since 1995. He says that he first came in touch with the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat, which is the Sikh affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
“I began my work with the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat and then moved to the BJP in 1995. I worked many years in BJP’s Kisan Morcha and became its Delhi Pradesh office bearer. I also led the party’s Sikh cell in the past,” he said.
He went on the become vice-president of the party’s Delhi unit but resigned in 2017 due to a row over the Akal Takht’s Hukamnama telling Sikhs not to be part of the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat. Though the Hukamnama was in 2007, it came back to the centre stage in 2017 after the Akal Takht said it is still valid and urged Sikhs not to participate in Sikh Sangat events on the 350th birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh.
Baath skipped the Sangat event, which invited criticism from some of his colleagues in the BJP.
“Pressure was put on me from several sides,” he told The Quint.
However, the then state BJP president Manoj Tiwari didn’t accept his resignation and Baath continued in the post.
He says that he has nothing against the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat.
“I have nothing against them. In fact I started my work with them...They get criticised by vested interests (within Sikhs),” he said. “If Sikh Sangat is so bad, why does Akali Dal ally with BJP?” he asked.
Besides his connection to the BJP and RSS’s Sikh affiliate, Baath is presently vice-president of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) and member representing the Navin Shahdara DSGMC ward.
In many ways, he is considered the BJP man in the DSGMC.
“See I wanted to contest (DSGMC polls) in 2007. I asked Dr Harsh Vardhan who was then Delhi BJP chief if I could contest. He said the party won’t interfere in our religious matters. So I contested then and again in the next elections,” he said.
On being asked about his relationship with Akali Dal, he said, “Naturally, when I contest DSGMC, it is understood my contest will be with them”.
By his own admission, the 2018 resignation row is a thing of the past and Baath now considers himself a “loyal soldier of the BJP”. In the 2020 Delhi elections, Baath claims was given the responsibility of two constituencies in Northeast Delhi, both of which the BJP won.
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