Modi Praises AMU, BJP Leaders Malign It: Time to Shut Down Hate?

PM Modi praises AMU but groups on Facebook vilify and threaten India’s Muslims. Why is it so hard to stop hate?

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Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Video Producer: Shohini Bose
Cameraperson: Athar Rather

Speaking at the 100th anniversary of the Aligarh Muslim University, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said – “Those educated at AMU represent the diverse culture of India,” that AMU is a “mini-India.”

Modi Praises AMU, BJP Leaders Malign It: Time to Shut Down Hate?
(Graphics: The Quint)
Modi Praises AMU, BJP Leaders Malign It: Time to Shut Down Hate?
(Graphics: The Quint)

But other Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders don’t think so...

  • In 2019, BJP Lok Sabha MP from Aligarh Satish Gautam attacked AMU for having  Jinnah’s portrait on its campus, ignoring the context that Jinnah was one of AMU’s founders.
  • In 2015, Sunil Singh, the UP head of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, the Hindutva group founded by Yogi Adityanath, called AMU a "nursery of terror".
  • Members of the Hindu Yuva Vahini even vandalised the AMU campus in 2018.
  • In 2016, former Aligarh mayor and BJP leader Shakuntala Bharti made false allegations of beef being served in an AMU hostel.
  • In February 2019, 14 AMU students were booked for sedition after a complaint filed by local BJP leader Mukesh Lodi, charges the police later quietly dropped.
  • In 2018, both Yogi Adityanath and Central Social Justice Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot wrongly claimed that AMU was not a minority institution.
  • BJP MP RS Katheria, Chairman of the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, while demanding clarity on the issue from AMU, said – “This is not Pakistan, AMU must follow rules” – betraying his bigotry.

Click on the player below for the full podcast!

PM Modi Praises AMU, BJP Leaders Demonise It

So, on one side there’s Modi’s praise and on the other – all this demonisation of Aligarh Muslim University by so many BJP leaders. Until the PM shuts down these bigoted voices from within his party, what he says may be dismissed by many as doublespeak.

Modi also spoke about how the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan, providing toilets at home and school, helped reduce the school drop out rate among Muslim girls. Again, critics said that wasn’t the full picture.

  • Some pointed at the several young Muslim women currently in jail under the draconian UAPA.
  • Some asked why did so many BJP leaders vilify Muslim women anti-CAA protestors at Shaheen Bagh, calling them ‘paid protestors’, anti-national, and traitors.
  • Others called out the PM’s silence over UP’s anti ‘Love Jihad’ ordinance – a law that presumes Hindu-Muslim marriages involve forced religious conversion – how is such a law good for India’s diverse culture?

Why Does It Seem So Hard to Shut Down Hate?

Yeh Jo India Hai Na… it is confused. Kya hai India ki soch ki asli tasveer?

And whether it is the PM or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram, why does it seem so hard to shut down hate? The answer seems to be –

  1. It pays political dividends
  2. If you shut them down, they may start hating you!

Now, while a Wall Street Journal report claims that Facebook did not act against hate speech posted by the Bajrang Dal fearing violence by Bajrang Dal workers, Facebook’s India head Ajit Mohan told a parliamentary panel that Facebook did not even find any content posted by Bajrang Dal that violated their hate speech guidelines. Meanwhile, the Bajrang Dal has claimed that it has no formal Facebook account.

So then, what is this? A direct death threat to Muslims – behave or face a fake encounter! Posted on 7th December on Facebook.

Modi Praises AMU, BJP Leaders Malign It: Time to Shut Down Hate?
(Image: Facebook screenshot)

Look at this – posted on a group called – Bajrang Dal group mein kattar (meaning radical) Hindu judein – clearly rejecting a secular India, clearly saying they want to radicalise Hindus, push them towards violence.

Modi Praises AMU, BJP Leaders Malign It: Time to Shut Down Hate?
(Image: Facebook screenshot)

Then, this post by a group called – Bajrang Dal All India Official – showing a Sikh farmer, claiming him to be a maulana from the Tablighi Jamaat – to say that Muslims have infiltrated the farmer protest, to create enmity between Hindus and Sikhs – completely hate-filled fake news debunked by The Quint’s fake news team!

Modi Praises AMU, BJP Leaders Malign It: Time to Shut Down Hate?
(Image: Facebook screenshot)

Then, this one – which questions why Christmas is celebrated by kids in Indian schools – posted by Bajrang Dal – Bajrangi Cheetey.

Modi Praises AMU, BJP Leaders Malign It: Time to Shut Down Hate?
(Image: Facebook screenshot)

The Quint’s fake news team tracked several such groups on Facebook – that share hate and misinformation under the name of Bajrang Dal. Like this one – ‘Bajrang Dal group mein kattar Hindu judein ‘ – a repeat offender, with over 98,000 members.

Then this group, Bajrang Dal (बजरंग दल जोडो अभियान | ग्रुप में 11 बजरंग दल वालो को जोड़िये)‘ with over 52,000 members. ‘BAJRANG DAL ALL INDIA OFFICIAL’ that has over 17,500 members. Another page, called just ‘Bajrang Dal’, has over 58,000 Facebook followers.

Why Has Facebook Failed to Ban or Take Action Against These Groups?

So, are these groups formally linked to the Bajrang Dal? Maybe not, as Bajrang Dal claims. But are they repeatedly fanning hate, demonising India’s minorities, supporting the use of violence against them? Yes, they are.

So, does it matter whether are the real Bajrang Dal or not? No, it does not. All that matters is that they are in complete violation of Facebook’s hate speech guidelines. In fact, if they are not the real Bajrang Dal, then surely Facebook should not even fear violence from Bajrang Dal workers. So, why has Facebook failed to ban or take any action against such groups? The Quint has formally asked Facebook these questions. We will update you when we get a reply.

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