In an interview with BBC Hindi released on Tuesday, 11 January, Uttar Pradesh (UP) Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya got visibly agitated at his interviewer when asked about the genocidal calls made against Muslims in Haridwar’s 'Dharam Sansad' and ended the interview by throwing off his mic.
Balancing on the tight rope between denial and ignorance of the continuing campaign against Muslims by Hindutva leaders, Maurya decided to climb down by saying, “Main baat nahi karta aapse! (I will not talk to you!).
He then took off his mic, threw it next to the BBC journalist, and asked the camera to be shut. According to the BBC, Maurya got the video deleted and it could only be recovered from the camera chip.
Before Maurya’s interview came to an abrupt end, he had discredited the journalist and called him an “agent” who was apparently “not speaking like a journalist.” We do not know what he said after.
Here’s What Went Down, Apart From the Mic
Referring to the COVID-19 restrictions on political rallies, Maurya was first asked about Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP's) future strategy.
Maurya welcomed the Election Commission’s guidelines and stated that they will use the digital platform and have whole machinery ready to reach out to people.
Possibly referring to the extensive advertising by the UP government, Maurya added, “We can say we don’t only campaign during elections, we go to people even to help them with their needs and problems.”
On being asked where Maurya himself will contest from, he deflected the question and said, "Our government has done great work which is why we want to get the opposition on the field of development."
Why Is Vikas Dubey Not in UP Govt’s Ad on Criminals?
The interviewer also raised a question on the UP government’s ad on criminals and asked why Vikas Dubey’s name was omitted, and the names of only those from a religious community (Muslims) are mentioned.
“It’s our party’s ad, how can you decide?” Maurya replied.
When asked again about why Vikas Dubey’s name was omitted, Maurya feigned ignorance and said that he hasn’t yet seen the ad. He later added, “We’ll take names as when required.”
Maurya Fails To Condemn Haridwar Event, Calls Journalist an ‘Agent'
The interviewer subsequently asked about the ‘Dharam Sansad’ and said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence and the silence of others emboldens those who make such speeches.
“Shouldn’t you comment on these things when they happen?” the interviewer asked.
To this, Maurya replied, “BJP doesn’t owe anyone a clarification... As far as Hindu saints are concerned, they have the right to say what they want from the stage.”
Reversing the roles and questioning the journalist, Maurya asked, “Why do you only talk of Hindu saints? What do other religious leaders say? Why don’t you talk of Kashmiri pandits.”
While the interviewer was asking about the impunity, the significance of Hindutva leaders such as Yati Narsinghanand, and Anapurna Maa and the kind of atmosphere being created, Maurya cut him off saying, “They’re not creating any kind of atmosphere”.
“What the right thing must be, or the appropriate thing must be, they must have said that” — with this Maurya again feigned ignorance and said that he hasn’t seen any videos yet.
Maurya again refused to accept that genocidal calls or anything wrong was said in the three-day long ‘Dharam Sansad.’
When the interviewer pleaded that the hate conclave and elections are related, Maurya lost his temper, claimed they are not related, said that the journalist is not talking like a journalist.
And then even as the producer and interviewer requested him not to get angry, the deputy chief minister took off his microphone and asked the camera to be shut off.
'Dosti Bani Rahe Moment': Twitter Flooded With Reactions
Maurya's discomfort and the abrupt end of the interview reminded netizens of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's interview with Karan Thappar back in 2007 when Thappar questioned Modi about his involvement in the 2002 Gujarat Riots.
Here's how netizens reacted:
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