Communalism

Bareilly DM Condemns ‘Trend’ of Entering Muslim Localities, Shouting Anti-Pakistan Slogans

The district magistrate took down his Facebook post after being trolled and abused online, but has said that he stands by his statement.

More than 80 people were arrested even as Rapid Action Force (RAF) and Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) personnel intensified vigil, in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj on Sunday. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: A Facebook post by the district magistrate (DM) of Bareilly following the communal violence that broke out in Uttar Pradesh’s Kasganj on Republic Day has created a flutter. In the post, DM Raghvendra Vikram Singh has blamed provocative slogan-shouting for sparking the clashes, leaving one person dead. Singh’s posts were, however, unavailable on his Facebook profile on Tuesday morning, after he was trolled, abused and threatened online.

Expressing his anger in a Facebook post on Sunday, Singh said it had become a “trend” for people to “forcefully enter Muslim-dominated localities, raise anti-Pakistan slogans and then create a ruckus,” reported the Times of India.

Singh wrote:

Ajab rivaz ban gaya hai. Muslim mohallo me jabrdasti julus le jao aur Pakistan murdabad ke nare lagao. Kyon bhai, ve Pakistani hain kya? Yehi yahan Bareilly mein Khailam mein hua tha. Fir patharav hua, mukadme likhe gaye… (A very strange trend has started of late. Take out processions by force through Muslim-dominated localities and raise anti-Pakistan slogans. Why? Are these people Pakistani? The same thing had happened in Khailam village of Bareilly. Then stones were pelted, FIRs lodged).”

In another post, the Bareilly DM asked why slogans were never raised against China, “a bigger enemy”. He wrote, “Cheen to bada dushman hai, tiranga lekar Cheen murdabad kyon nahin? (China is a bigger enemy to us. Why isn’t the tricolour being waved and anti-China slogans shouted)?”

Singh goes on to say that fringe elements were destroying the social fabric of the nation, “Such fringe groups are coming up in every part of the state, taking the same ugly route to instigate people of the minority community by forcefully entering their locality in the name of nationalism. These people don’t care about the fabric of our mixed culture and brotherhood,” the Times of India report said.

The DM has now deleted the post, saying that he only meant to initiate an “academic discussion” and that it had taken a “different turn”.

“While there is no doubt that Pakistan is our enemy, Muslims of India are our brothers, our blood. Our DNA is same. It is our duty to promote harmony and unity in society,” he wrote in a new post.

Singh told the Times of India that nobody asked him to remove the post. “I apologise if some sentiments were hurt by what I said, but there is no denying that our secular ethos is at stake; there are things which need to be protected at all cost… Though there is no denying that Pakistan is our enemy, there is also no denying that Indian Muslims are our brothers and we share the same DNA,” he told the newspaper.

Earlier, on January 25, the DM had expressed his surprise at what the “whole fuss” around Padmaavat was about. He wrote, “I belong to the same community as these people who are protesting against the film. What is this nonsensical argument that we will lose if the movie is released?”

The clashes on January 26,  as reported in the media and supported by video evidence, took place when a group of bikers owing allegiance to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, carrying saffron flags and the tricolour, entered a Muslim-dominated area where preparations for Republic Day celebrations were on. As reported, the clashes broke out when the ABVP bikers allegedly insisted on right of passage, asking the local organiser to remove the chairs.

UP finance minister and Bareilly City MLA Rajesh Agarwal supported Singh. “I have not read the comment posted by DM Bareilly yet,” he told the Hindustan Times, addingBut considering he is a former Army officer, I can say he will never say anything against our country or in favour of Pakistan.”

Singh’s Facebook post is the second embarrassment for the Adityanath-led BJP government after governor Ram Naik described the communal violence triggered by an unauthorised rally in Kasganj as a “matter of shame” and a “blot” on the state.

Fake news, too, added its bit to the boiling communal cauldron in Kasganj. Altnews.in said false news was being spread that apart from Chandan Gupta, another youth, Rahul Upadhyay, 24, had been killed in the violence. The “missing” man had to approach the police on Monday to deny reports of his death. Among those spreading fake news through tweets was a senior editor of an English Daily, reported Altnews.in.

Upadhyay was declared dead by some “rumour mongers” on social media, according to police. The “news” was picked up and carried in a number of newspapers.

The 24-year-old media graduate from Noida, who now runs a small news outlet, received a phone call on Saturday, asking him if he was dead. “At first, I was surprised and thought someone was joking. Then I received another call and then another. That is when I realised something was wrong.” Upadhyay told the Indian Express.

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  • Mallya Gopinath

    Why Anti Pak slogans should create riots in India. Is it utterly bad to use Anti Pak slogans which may result in such riots. Do we have to restrain ourselves voicing concerns against Pak. Why did the DM made such a comment. It may be in bad taste that procession taken in Muslim area. But it is the duty of the DM to see that there is peace. We should keep our religion at our home only no procession or prayers in the streets should take place in India. Keep your religion for you and at your house. Do not bring it out doors
    then only we will have harmony.

  • Rabindra Nath Roy,

    Gandhi went on hunger strike, his last on 13th of Jan’1948, to reconcile the communities and particularly that the Hindu, Sikh communities of Delhi must ensure that the Muslims will not be asked to leave India and like wise he wants assurances from the community leaders and he would take Hindus who left Pakistan for fear of losing their lives will be settled there and so on. The communities leaders did promise that and Gandhi broke his fast but the leaders including the PM Modi who paid homage to Mahatma we doubt remember Gandhis death and the cause he gave his life for. It is RSS who had nothing to say and all those who belong to RSS including our PM, Narendra Modi has had nothing of the sort in view of Kash Ganj. Sad indeed.

  • V Suresh

    A sane, sober answer anchored in true nationalism as opposed to the BJP’s shrill jingoism and rabid, divisive Hindutva…

    Great comment Mr Ashwin – loved it !

  • V Suresh

    The Muslim community in that locality was celebrating Republic Day. They were affirming their loyalty to India when the BJP endorsed goons barged in, provoked a fight and we all know the rest.

    That same bloody template has been followed umpteen times all across India with deadly results. Paint Muslims as devils and anti-nationals and then justify violence against them. In fact this template is the same nasty one that another Hitler worshipper called Bal Thackaray used to rally the “marathi manoos” against the “kaala madrasi”, the Bihari, then North Indians. Stigmatise some group, blame them for all ills in society and assault them.

    And in that bloody formula lies the seeds for the destruction of India. Yugoslvia which in the early 80s was a stable, middle income country by European standards splintered into many fragments when one ethnic group asserted itself over all others. Pakistan fragmented when the light skinned Punjabis of West Pakistan asserted themselves over the dark-skinned Bengalis who they derisively called “Hindus”. The violence, rapes and mass murders they unleashed lead to the inevitable split of Pakistan in 1971.

    Raising the Indian flag is a greater act of patriotism than shouting anti-Pakistan slogans. Serving in the Indian Air Force as Corporal Sartaj Khan, son of Mohammad Akhlaq (RIP) who was lynched in Dardi in 2015 by the BJP’s goon squads is a greater act of patriotism than the slogan shouting of these thugs. And re-affirming one’s patriotism to the country even after the lynching of his father and the questioning of his loyalties as a Muslim is a far more sincere gesture than rowdy displays of jingoism.

    That raises a question: How often do you raise anti-Pakistan slogans yourself ?

  • Bv

    shouting slogan against Pakistan is patriotism ? if they are really patriots lets shout the slogan against odds in India
    lets fight for the corruption , lets fight for the unemployment, lets fight against capitalism , and make our nation a true heaven. according to oxfam survey 1% of Indians acquire 73% of wealth of india, reaming fighting each other and divising the nation

  • V Suresh

    Oddly, there is no sloganeering against China which poses a far greater threat than Pakistan.

    Pakistan is an economic midget, mired in internal ethnic squabbles and lurching from one political crisis to the next. It has lost all the wars it has fought with India, lost territory and is a pariah in international circles. People leave that country in droves. Indeed, when Pakistanis come to the West, they say that they are Indians, not Pakistanis. Yes, the Pak military lobs shells and fosters trouble in Kashmir etc. But most of these issues are pinpricks at best.

    China on the other hand is a far greater threat to India on several fronts. It is an economic powerhouse and a military behemoth. Its incursions into Indian territory at Dhoklam, the conflict in 1961, the territorial demands on parts of Arunachal Pradesh etc, are far more a threat to India.

    Now try telling that to the goon squads of the BJP.