Despite Jamia Shooting, Amit Shah's Divisive Rhetoric Continues Unabated

Shah’s recurrent comments linking AAP to the Shaheen Bagh protests confirmed that the BJP's campaign tool was polarisation.

New Delhi: That the Bharatiya Janata Party was not going to relent from its ongoing attacks against Shaheen Bagh protests became clear given the manner in which party leader Amit Shah repeatedly directed attention towards the protests at various Delhi assembly election meetings on Thursday. A youth firing at anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters near Jamia Milia Islamia university yesterday did not result in any change of strategy for the BJP.

Although Shah said that “strictest action” would be taken and that the “guilty will not be spared”, he kept raising the protests at Shaheen Bagh during his rallies. Incidentally, the firing episode at Jamia came just two days after Union minister and BJP leader Anurag Thakur was accused of inciting people during an election rally by repeatedly raising the slogandesh kay gaddaron ko (traitors of the country)” as party activists shouted “goli maaron saalon ko (shoot them)” – which put together meant `shoot the traitors’.

Whether the youth who fired at Jamia was directly inspired by this slogan is not known, but what is clear is that recent events and speeches exhorting people to counter the anti-CAA protests definitely had a bearing on how the minor from Jewar in Greater Noida acted.

Also read: With Jamia Shooter’s Illegal Pistol, Psychological Warfare on Protesters Reaches New Height

BJP ministers, MPs making incendiary speeches

The BJP has based its entire election campaign in Delhi around the protests in Shaheen Bagh. The manner of speaking leaves little to doubt that the party wants to project the minority community in a bad light. BJP’s West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma put it more lucidly when he said protesters from Shaheen Bagh will “enter your homes and rape your sisters and daughters”.

While the Election Commission on Thursday barred Thakur from campaigning for 72 hours and Verma for 96 hours for their comments, Shah’s recurrent comments on Shaheen Bagh confirmed that the BJP would continue to counter Arvind Kejriwal’s agenda of development through polarisation.

Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur during campaigns. Photos: Twitter

Shah speaks of Pakistan, Shaheen Bagh, vote bank

At a rally in Chhattarpur, Amit Shah again invoked Pakistan and Shaheen Bagh. “On February 8, you will be deciding who should form the government in Delhi… On one side it’s Narendra Modi, who conducted airstrikes and surgical strikes on Pakistan’s soil to kill terrorists, and on the other, there are these people who back Shaheen Bagh. You have to decide,” Shah said.

He also posed questions to the voters and asked them, “Sanjay Colony, are you their vote bank?” to which the crowd’s response came “No”. When he then asked who the vote bank was, the crowd responded by saying, “Shaheen Bagh”.

Shah also minced no words while linking Aam Aadmi Party to the Shaheen Bagh protests. He said: “Manish Sisodia says ‘we are with Shaheen Bagh’, I want to say ‘you are with Shaheen Bagh and we are with Sanjay Colony’.”

Then at Malviya Nagar, Shah tried to create a fear psychosis by asking, “how those who caused riots in Delhi can keep (the city) secure”.

Shah said it was after Modi brought CAA that others began talking about a revolution. He accused the AAP of instigating violent riots and asked whether those who caused trouble could keep Delhi safe.

Also read: Firing on Jamia Students: From Falsehood to Victim Blaming, Republic TV Spins a Yarn

Taking a cue from Shah’s open support for such communal politics, Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari sought to downplay the firing incident at Jamia by saying that there had been violent incidents at Shaheen Bagh as well, where journalists were assaulted and slogans calling for killing Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah were raised. “Kejriwal has spoiled the atmosphere of Delhi and now they are trying to make a new Pakistan by cutting Northeast from India,” he charged.

Kejriwal urges Shah to focus on Delhi’s law and order

Meanwhile, reacting to the firing at Jamia, Kejriwal, through a tweet, urged Shah, who is also the Union home minister, to take care of Delhi’s law and order situation.

In another response, AAP national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh alleged that the incident was a conspiracy by the BJP to get elections in Delhi postponed.

Claiming that the “saffron party knows it is losing”, he tweeted:

“The BJP and Home Minister Amit Shah are scared of losing the upcoming polls and they are trying to get the polls postponed through the act. Amit Shah has tied the hands of the Delhi police in Jamia that is why they were mute spectators of the incident.”