By ADITYA MENON
After the BJP alleged a threat to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s life following his convoy getting stuck during a visit to Punjab, there has been an outpouring of hate against Sikhs and Punjabis on social media. This ranges from calls for for a “repeat of 1984” to “sacking every Punjabi from the army.”
Some of the conversations in this regard have been from BJP members and prominent people in the right wing ecosystem.
For instance, BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh’s Bithoor, Abhijeet Singh Sanga, tweeted, “Don’t make the mistake of considering him Indira Gandhi. Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi is his name. You won’t even get a paper to write on or history to read.”
He later deleted his tweet and claimed that he wasn’t referring to “patriotic Sikhs.”
Another BJP leader to put out a controversial tweet was Maharashtra BJP leader Avadhut Wagh, who called for Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi to be “hanged till death.”
Both Sanga and Wagh have verified handles on Twitter.
Another verified handle to tweet regarding a repeat of 1984 was Sushil Kedia. Tagging Congress leader Rahul Gandhi he said that “1984 would have been dwarfed” had “even a scratch come on PM Modi”.
Kedia later apologised for his tweet but did not delete it.
Besides these there were several other handles threatening a repeat of 1984.
A particularly common tweet was one saying, “A tree had fallen in 1984 and the earth shook. He (Modi) is Mount Everest. There will be total devastation”.
According to trendsmap, this exact text has been tweeted out 1,200 times in the last few days. If one factors in people who tweeted modified versions of the same text, the number would be much higher.
This tweet is a spin-off from what the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said after Indira Gandhi’s assassination: “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes”. Gandhi has been criticised for this statement which many saw as justification of the 1984 anti-Sikh pogrom.
Here are some of the other tweets threatening violence against Sikhs.
This tweet says, “Be thankful Khalistani d**s that nothing happened to Modi ji. If even a wrong shadow falls on him, more Khalistanis than 1984 would have been butchered and thrown in the drains”.
Twitter wasn’t the only platform where hate against Sikhs and Punjabis was spread. According to a report in Times of India, calls to “repeat 1984” were given on Facebook as well.
The story quotes a Facebook user named Ajai Singh from UP’s Shikohabad as having posted, “84 will start appearing as a minor incident….if Modi had even a gash, neither your race nor history would remain”.
THIS IS TERRORISM’ SAYS AKAL TAKHT JATHEDAR
Jathedar of the Akal Takht, Giani Harpreet Singh, spoke out against the comments being made on social media.
“These kind of hate comments are terrorism” said the Akal Takht Jathedar, head of the highest temporal body for Sikhs.
“If a particular community is targeted with hate comments in this manner, it is terrorism. It is shocking that the government has been unable to bring such people to book,” he said.
“To threaten Sikhs with a repeat of 1984 is hate terrorism. The government should act against this hate terrorism,” he added.
The Jathedar said that what happened regarding the PM’s convoy was due to miscommunication between the Centre and Punjab government and that Sikhs shouldn’t be dragged into this tussle.
This story first appeared on thequint.com