Behind ‘Digital Hindu’ conclaves platforming hate speech, BJP leader’s NGO (News Laundry)

BJP’s MP chief says an honest person thinks twice before lying but Chanakya said all is fair in national interest.

Hate Watch

By Prateek Goyal

An event in Bhopal last month which platformed hate speech largely found no mention in the mainstream media, despite the presence of senior BJP leaders from Madhya Pradesh, including a minister.

Attended by “nationalist” influencers and focussed on propagating right-wing narratives on the digital space, the ‘Digital Hindu Conclave’, however, wasn’t the first of its kind. Around 15 such events focussed on propagating right-wing narratives have been held across three states – Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – over the last two-and-a-half years.

Neither an FIR has been filed nor has the police tried to stop such programmes across the country, including the one in Madhya Pradesh. This, despite the Supreme Court directing states and police to take suo motu action against hate speeches even in the absence of a formal complaint.

Launched in 2021, the conclave has been managed by Bharat Neeti – a Delhi-based NGO founded and run by former BJP national general secretary P Muralidhar Rao. But more on that later.

Let’s first look at this series of conclaves and its star campaigners, beginning with the most recent one held in Bhopal on March 18 at the RCVP Naronha Administrative Academy in Shahpura.

From Bhopal stage, reference to Chanakya, demography

The chief guests at the conclave in Bhopal were BJP Madhya Pradesh president VD Sharma, national joint secretary Shiv Prakash, Madhya Pradesh in-charge Muralidhar Rao and state joint secretary Hitanand Sharma. State minister Vishwas Sarang was also present.

The panelists were India News anchor Pradeep Bhandari, BJP leader Kapil Mishra, and right wing social media influencers such as Kajal Singla aka Kajal Hindustani and Anshul Saxena.

“An honest person is concerned about what others may think if he lies…but Chanakya said that to save society, to take society forward, in the interest of the country, by any and all means, is not wrong,” said VD Sharma, indicating that a lie in the national interest can’t be considered as a lie, and pointing out that prime minister Narendra Modi has only had a positive image with the advent of nationalist digital volunteers.

He then went on to suggest that he had asked his party workers to give a certain twist to the Mhow case on social media. “When I asked our social media workers to immediately introduce the issue one way, they said ‘no, how can we say that? It’s not even connected.’”

The BJP leader was referring to the alleged gangrape and murder of a tribal girl in Mhow district, which had triggered uproar in the state assembly and violent protests outside the Badgonda police station. A protester was allegedly killed in police firing while 13 policemen were injured. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had eventually ordered a judicial probe.

While the Congress alleged that the BJP was trying to save the accused from the Patel community, BJP leaders claimed that the woman was accidentally electrocuted and was not raped and that this asserted by her husband too.

Sharma wasn’t the only BJP leader suggesting such narratives on stage. When an audience member asked about a JNU history scholar’s remarks on the Somnath temple, BJP leader Nishant Khare said, “Why are you still stuck on opposing her for remarks calling Somnath as Soomnath? You can make use of a lot of places. You can say that there used to be a Shiv temple in Mecca. Run such a narrative and then we will see what happens.”

Meanwhile, India News anchor Pradeep Bhandari, who was earlier criticised for his reportage on the Sushant Singh Rajput case, actor Rhea Chakraborty and Disha Salian’s death, spoke on the “anti-India toolkit” to “undermine our culture and national unity”. “The anti-India toolkit attacks your thoughts…in a coordinated way. And if I can say in one line what the anti-India toolkit is then it is an anti-Hindu toolkit.”

“This country can stay safe only as long as the Hindus here are in a majority. The balance of population should not change in the country and the day it gets changed, no one will be able to do anything,” he said, claiming that a pro-Hindu narrative should be sustained for the next seven decades the same way as an “anti-Hindu” narrative was run…

This story was originally published in Read the full story here


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