The Voice Vs The Tukde Tukde Gang + Urban Naxals
How fake news and the cacophony on 9 pm debates ultimately led to the attack on Umar Khalid.    
How fake news and the cacophony on 9 pm debates ultimately led to the attack on Umar Khalid.   (Image: The Quint/Arnica Kala)

The Voice Vs The Tukde Tukde Gang + Urban Naxals

“You Umar, I’m talking to you,” says The Voice. The questions are burning and the Wagging Finger has started its accusatory dance around them.

“You are more dangerous to this country than Maoist terrorists. I wonder who is funding you.”

The Wagging Finger reminds the PhD student that he enjoys the perks of subsidised Indian education at a leading university where he was seen and heard sympathising with a terrorist who’d been convicted and hanged for aiding the terrorists who’d laid siege on the Indian Parliament in 2002.

Umar Khalid tries to respond, but The Voice thunders – “Umar stop, Umar stop and hear me otherwise I’m going to cut your audio off! The point is simply this – someone’s got to call your bluff and we’re going to call your bluff tonight. Someone got to name you and I’m naming you ... (wait for it )....Anti-National tonight....”

The Anti-National tries to protest. His soundless mouth moves. He’s been shut up. At least for that moment.

This was on 17 February 2016 on the 9 pm debate on “your channel”.

(Skip to 2:22)

A few months later, the Anti-National’s ilk grew, to be jointly called the ‘Tukde Tukde Gang’. (‘Pieces-Pieces Gang’).

When asked who was out to break the country into pieces, The Voice responded, “Umar Khalid”.

“They will be identified and isolated”, The Voice prophesised. “You want to call us McCarthy-ist, then so be it.”

Identified he was, on 13 August 2018 at 4 pm and isolated at a chai-wala’s stall right outside the gates of the Constitution Club of India. A name-less, face-less gun-toting assailant, guided by what had now mutated into The Noise.

But there was some unity amongst the ‘Tukde Tukde Gang” that swooped in to help the PhD student live long enough to appear for his Viva (spoken-exam). Hopefully, until he can pre-fix a ‘Dr’ to The Anti-National.

It may have taken two years, but the prophecy made by The Voice in 2016 was not in vain. In 2018, threatening phone calls and text messages started flooding the inboxes of the “Tukde Tukde Gang” – or to be more precise, more serious threats started making their way to them. Along with reminders to update their KYC details and link their Aadhaar cards, came threats from a God-fearing Underworld Don.

It had, as the kids say these days, gotten real.

And so, the Dr-in-waiting put his “taxpayer-funded” education to good use and wrote a letter to the SHO of the Vasant Kunj Police Station.

“I wish to bring to your notice that a person identifying himself as Ravi Pujari has been making threatening calls to Vadgam MLA (Gujarat) Jignesh Mevani for the last three days, threatening to kill him. Today, he made another call to him and also sent a message threatening to kill him as well as myself. The screenshot of the message along with the number of the sender is attached herewith. It reads. ‘Ye jo provocative speeches dena bandh kar varna thok dunga. Umar Khalid bhi meri hit list mein he. Ye mere tarf se warning. Mafia don Ravi Pujari.”

How do you know a vegan is a vegan? It is said that they will tell you in the first ten seconds of meeting you. It would appear that a similar rule applies to mafia dons as well.

Like the countless ‘Good Morning’, ‘Stay Blessed’, ‘Forward to 10 people or Mata Rani will not bless you’ messages that are circulated every day, the same threat was copy-pasted and sent to another beneficiary of subsidised Indian education.

Ironically, the Tukde Tukde Gang’s doctoral candidate was supposed to be meeting the police to discuss protection for him on the very day he was attacked. At least this should mean he doesn’t have to get an affidavit signed in triplicate and witnessed by the gods themselves to prove he needs it.

But what will the aam aadmi do, when an elected MLA in Gujarat can’t feel safe? “There have been continuous threats to me, Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid, but none of us have been given security. It’s as if the Sangh, the BJP and the government wants us crusaders to be assassinated.”

The attack on The Anti-National took place just two days ahead of Independence Day, just a few meters away from the living quarters of several high-profile Members of Parliament and the Parliament itself. And while entering the Delhi border in mid-August can feel like you’re zig-zagging your way through barricades into Area 51, how a gun-toting assailant could go on an evening walk in “Lutyen’s Delhi” is still a mystery.

Meanwhile, The Voice, the exclusive harbinger of ‘World Exclusive Big, Bigger and the Biggest Newsbreaks’ has got bigger fish to fry.

The new threat on the block is ‘The Larger Tukde Tukde Gang’ or the The Urban Naxals – a band of lawyers, writers, professors, human rights activists in Chhattisgarh who have been “exposed” and arrested.

A figment of The Filmmaker’s imagination (like, literally!), these Urban Naxals are the “invisible enemies of India” who have even conspired to assassinate the prime minister of India!

More recently, however, The Filmmaker has been occupied with his wife’s concerns over the locks of their building – a matter of national security and fiscal prudence, after all.

But, back to the “real issues” – in a “sensational expose” – two letters between two Comrades, talking about broadcasting stories of human rights violations in Kashmir were made public.

I mean, “What about our Jawans?”, the Voice sputtered in eye-popping, angry disbelief.

Equally unbelievable was the audacity of these “Commies” to suggest monetary aid be arranged to send “research fellows from JNU and TISS(Mumbai) to interiors (of the country)”.

Hell hath no fury like The Voice on the TV screen that night and the one after and the one after and the one after and the one after....

As for you, my friend, your audio has been cut off.

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