As the dates for the Gujarat Assembly elections draw closer, different forces have gone aggressively to work behind the scene to exploit all means for electoral gain. They are leaving no stone unturned to polarise the electorate, preferably on communal lines.
With an aim to incite communal hatred against Muslims, a gruesome video of cow slaughter is being circulated on WhatsApp in the state that will go to polls on December 9 and 14. A man wearing skull-cap can be seen – in the video – sitting on a severed head of a cow.
He can be heard hurling threats to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “Modi, we will continue slaughtering your mother. This war will continue until you are finished,” the man says in the video.
He goes on threatening by pointing at the cow’s horns, nostrils and tongue. Pointing at the skinned body of the cow, he says, “Look, we have even removed the clothes of your mother.”
At the end of the video the man can be seen putting his feet on the severed head of the cow and chanting 'Allahu Akbar'.
Interestingly, the man is speaking in Kashmiri accent that shows the video is not from Gujarat. The authenticity of the video is not known either.
Though the authenticity of the video cannot be vouched for, it is being widely circulated in the state, particularly among Patidar groups who are opposing the ruling party for using massive force on their community members demanding quota.
“The video is, of course, provocative but we know why it is being circulated. These tricks won’t work anymore,” said Rahul Patel, an Ahmedabad-based leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), told NewsClick.
“They (BJP) first came up with ‘HAJ’ (Hardik, Alpesh and Jignesh) Vs ‘RAM’ (CM Rupani, Amit Shah and Modi) poster, then they put out banners in Paldi (a posh Hindu locality in Ahmedabad) asking voters to save the area from becoming Juhapura (second largest Muslim ghetto in the country). When both the attempts failed, they released a video that shows a young girl walking down the road with fear, while the Muslim call to prayer (azaan) appears to be playing in the background. But it also did not work. They are leaving no stones unturned to polarise voters which appear to be impossible this time,” he added.
The video he referred to starts with a line, reading “Gujarat ma sanjhe 7 pachhi avu thai shake chhe” (This can happen in Gujarat after 7 in the evening). The young girl is seen walking down the road with great fear and in a hurry, while her parents are anxiously waiting for her at home. After reaching home, the girl frantically rings the doorbell. He mother opens the door, while her father pats her head. Then the girl’s mother faces the camera, saying, “Ek minute, kem navai lagi ne ke aa Gujarat ni vaat chhe?” (One minute, why are you surprised to see that this is happening in Gujarat?).
After her, the father says, “Bavis varsh pehla pan avu j thatu hatu. Ane avu thai shake chhe. Jo e loko avshe to.” (Twenty-two years ago, this used to happen. And it will happen again if those people come). At the end, the girl says, “don’t worry. Koi nai ave. Kemke ahi Modi chhe.” (But don’t worry. Nobody will come. Because Modi is here). The controversial video clip ends with a saffron line in Gujarati: ‘Apno Vote, Apni Suraksha’ (Our Vote, Our Security).
Rahul Patel, a 22-year-old voter, says the BJP wants to give a message that only Modi can save Hindus so that Patidars and other communities stop demanding their rights.
He further said that those circulating such videos for political purposes are as much to blame as those who slaughter cows.
Significantly, PAAS leader Hardik Patel tweeted on Tuesday on the issue of cow slaughter and the politics around it.
“Nobody has the right to kill cows. Taking someone’s life in the name of cow slaughter is also a crime. Whoever has killed the cow as well as the one who has killed someone else in the name of the cow, send both of them to jail,” he wrote on Twitter.
The young leader, who along with Dalit rights activist Jignesh Mevani and OBC leader Alpesh Thakore has formed an anti-right wing front, has been claiming that the BJP would intensify the politics of “Hindu vs Muslim” to prevent communities from demanding justice.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is finding itself in “uncomfortable position” for the first time in the past 22 years because of the anger against Patidars, Dalits and OBCs. All the three communities used to be considered as traditional voters of the saffron party.
No political leader has taken responsibility for the video. Pankaj Shukla of Gujarat BJP’s social media cell has denied that his party had anything to do with the video clip.
Gujarat's Congress IT cell head Rohan Gupta refrained from blaming any party for the video clip but told NewsClick this could be a “surrogate campaign” of the BJP, as it is the only party that can benefit from this. The Congress has launched a social media campaign ‘Gujarat ne daravsho nahi’ (Do not frighten Gujarat).