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New Delhi: On Saturday, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, his assassin’s name trended on Twitter, with several right-wing accounts tweeting ‘Nathuram Godse Zindabad’, with many describing him as a ‘patriot’ and a ‘hero’.
Sections of the right-wing have often posted comments eulogising Godse, who shot dead Mahatma Gandhi on January 30, 1948, especially on days that are linked to India’s most famous freedom fighter.
Several BJP and Sangh parivar leaders have repeatedly made statements in support of Godse and his actions. In most cases, the BJP did not take any disciplinary action against leaders who glorified a man who is sometimes referred to as India’s ‘first terrorist’.
One right wing activist (@rohit4_BJP) whose Twitter bio describes him as being a member of the BJP IIT Cell in Bahraich, UP, praised the “vaccine” Godse administered in 1948:
1921 में मोपला में पहली वेव आयी थी। फिर 1946 में direct action day से शुरू हुई दूसरी वेव देश भर में करीब डेढ़ सालों तक रही। अंततः 1948 में हुतात्मा नाथूराम गोडसे ने वैक्सीन लगाई तब जाकर वायरस शांत हुआ।#नाथूराम_गोडसे_जिंदाबाद pic.twitter.com/d0T8fzan3d
— Rohit4BJP (@rohit4_bjp) October 2, 2021
An article published by Alt News in October 2017 found that several Twitter accounts that were self-proclaimed ‘fans’ of Godse were followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s personal account.
During the meeting between US President Joe Biden and Modi in Washington last week, the former said Gandhi’s “message of nonviolence, respect, tolerance matters today maybe more than it ever has”, in what was seen as a gentle reminder to the Indian prime minister that democratic values and diversity need to be upheld by his government.
Several civil society members and politicians called for action to be taken against accounts that have tweeted ‘Nathuram Godse Zindabad’.
BJP MP Varun Gandhi lashed out at those who glorified Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse on the birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, saying “they are irresponsibly shaming the country and should be named and shamed publicly”.
“India has always been a spiritual superpower, but it is the Mahatma who articulated our nation’s spiritual underpinnings through his being & gave us a moral authority that remains our greatest strength even today.Those tweeting ‘Godse zindabad’ are irresponsibly shaming the nation,” Varun Gandhi, who is not related to Mahatma Gandhi, said.
The “lunatic fringe” must not be allowed to enter the mainstream, he added.
“We must not forget the respect that India has internationally is because of Mahatma Gandhi and the ideals that he represented. The people who are tweeting ‘Godse Zindabad’ should be named and shamed publicly. The lunatic fringe must not be allowed to enter the mainstream,” he said.
— Arvind Gunasekar (@arvindgunasekar) October 2, 2021
On #GandhiJayanti today, I urge @TwitterIndia and HM @AmitShah ji to take strict action against all those posting in favor of the killers of Gandhi. Any such henious trends must immediately be banned, accounts blocked & FIR be filed against those tweeting in favor of Godse.
— Hardik Patel (@HardikPatel_) October 2, 2021
Never before in history has one witnessed #MahatmaGandhi Ji’s killer Godse being eugolised, as is being done today by communal elements, & hence we need to join hands to defeat this conspiracy to tarnish Gandhian values.
— Sanjay Dutt 🇮🇳 #JaiHind (@SanjaySDutt) October 2, 2021