Popular Front’s legal initiative against hate-peddlers and media; 19 arrested belong to Hindtuva stable
In the midst of ongoing lockdown the hate campaign against the second largest community reached to its nadir in the country
By Abdul Bari Masoud
New Delhi: With an aim to combat the rising tide of Islamophobia in the country, prominent social organization, Popular Front of India has started filing cases against hate-peddlers resulting in arrest of 19 persons including some big fishes belonging to the Hindtuva stable.
The organization has so far filed 1015 complaints against hate-mongers, and purveyors of fake-news as well as a few “mainstream” media outlets and social media accounts in eight states of the country. The cases were filed in Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Maharashtra. It also sent 500 rejoinders and notices to different media houses including Dainik Bhaskar, Pathrika, and TV channels Manorama News.24News, etc.
In the wake of Tablighi Jamaat’s event at its international headquarters Nizamuddin Markaz-which is used to demonize the whole Muslim community by a section of print and electronic media- the hate campaign against the community reached to its nadir in the country.
As a direct result of this hate campaign, in many places there were calls of boycotts on Muslim traders and there were also reports of attacks on Muslim vegetable/fruits vendors.
Concern with this alarming situation, the Front leadership has decided initiating the legal action against the hate-peddlers as the law and order authorities were not taking suo motu cognizance, said Adv. A. Mohamed Yusuff, a National Executive Council of the organization member while speaking with Muslim Mirror.
The country has been witnessing a well-planned anti-Muslim hate campaign by the “Hindutva fascist forces with an objective to demonize the Muslim community”.
Social media was flooded with hate posts alleging that the Corona virus was a planned conspiracy of Muslims. Unfortunately, the mainstream which was supposed to expose the hate news factory also joined this campaign and ran prime time news debates directly targeting the community.
In this context, Adv Yusuff said the organization pressed its cadre network and legal volunteers into identifying the hate-mongers on social media and also the offensive news items that were published or aired on mainstream print and electronic media.
Our state and district units’ teamwork yielded good results with 19 percent success while in the remaining cases agencies are investigating complaints, he added.
For example, in Karnataka, where BJP is in power, on the complaint filed by the Chitradurga district secretary of the Front Syed Sadath against district president of Hindu Mahasabha, M. Kumaraswamy resulted in his arrest. Chitradurga Town police arrested him on charges of posting provocative posts on Facebook.
According to the police, Sadath filed a complaint on April 10 stating that Mr. Kumaraswamy had posted “Godhra riots will be repeated by Karsevaks” on his Facebook page on April 7. Sadath said that Mr. Kumaraswamy was spreading communal hatred and targeting one community, at a time when the world was struggling to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. The police registered a case under various sections of the IPC and arrested him from his residence.
Similarly, a total 23 complaints against Ms Rangoli Chandel were filed in Maharashtra alone for her hate tweet. Chandel is sister of actor Kangana Ranaut. Maharashtra Cyber Cell has transferred the complaint to jurisdictional Police Station at Parbhani. She was also chased in Bihar where complaint was registered against her after PFI activist’s complaint.
In Karnataka, PFI filed registered complaints against the people like MPs, MLAs, ex-MLA and professors and ABVP leaders who regularly spread hatred in social media against Muslim community particularly after the Delhi Nizamuddin Markaz baseless issue in media.
Online Complaints filed: 19
Direct complaints in Police Stations: 37
FIR registered: 25
NCR registered: 12 (Complaints were received; Acknowledgements were given. Pending for filing FIRs)
Total Cases Filed: 56.
Adv Yusuff said there are many cases yet to file in Karnataka and the organization has already approached jurisdictional police stations waiting for written acknowledgment.
In the neighbouring Tamilnadu, including 4 representations to higher officials a total of 882 online and direct police complaints were filed against the hate propagators of Social Media, Print and Electronic Media.
State police arrested 10 hate propagators so far. Nagapatinam South District President of BJP lT Wing Veeramani and Hindu Munnani (Hindu Front) leader Madasamy of Tenkasi and Karthick of Pudukotai district, who circulated WhatsApp messages ‘not to buy anything in Muslim shops’, were among the arrested persons.
The Front, which has formidable base in Kerala, filed four complaints against hate mongers.
A man identified as Niranathu Hari abused expatriates and Muslim community through social media post. Likewise in Kollam, Shaji Elayidom of Attingal was booked for hate post.
While in Telangana, police complaint was filed by Telangana PFI President Rafeeq Ahmed at Cyber Crime police station in Hyderabad against Bhukya Reddy, the social media hate propagator.
In Rajasthan, the organization filed 13 police complaints in 13 districts against the editor of Dainaik Bhaskar, one of the largest circulated Hindi daily, for publishing hate news. The complaints were filed in, Udaipur, Chitorgarh, Bhilwara, Ajmer, Pali, Tonk, Jaipur, Sawaimadhopur, Kota, Baran, Jalawar, Bundi and Sikar districts of the state. It also filed 13complaints in 13 districts against another major Hindi daily published from the state ‘Rajasthan Patrika’ for publishing hate material. A police complaint also filed against ABP News Channel in the state.
Furthermore, the organization filed 28 complaints against social media hate propagators including Jaipur BJP MLA Madan Dilawar and a police constable Harish Pahalvan at Kota. After the complaint Pahalvan was suspended from service and his FB Account was also suspended.
While in Madhya Pradesh, a BJP ruled-state, 3 complaints against print media, 5 against electronic media and 3agaisnt social Media users were filed.
The PFI took the notice of a news story published in Dainik Bhaskar Indore edition. It sent around 500 e-mails of complaint to Indore and Ujjain office of Bhaskar in 2 days, resulted in publishing of apology 2 days later. Furthermore, notices were sent to two other news papers, Pathrika and Malviya Aajtak.
Hate News on electronic media
Two news channels, Manorama News (Malayalam) and 24News (Hindi) telecasted the news regarding Nizamuddin Markaz with the headline, ‘Tablig Covid”.
Adv Yusuff said 24 News channel has withdrawn the title and regretted publically. Manorama News also had withdrawn the title, following the controversy.
“In both cases we contacted the concerned authorities and asked to withdraw title and express regret.”
He said Front is also making efforts to file against India Today channel’s sting operation news regarding Tabligh Jamaat and Madrassas.
Besides the legal follow up of these cases, Front is also planning to file more cases in order to hold media accountable for spreading hate before the court of law, said Adv Yusuff and adding that they will also submit memorandum to District Collectors seeking a check on hate-mongers.