Hate and bigotry at its supreme peak


‘Hate and bigotry at its supreme peak’

Over the past few days, hate against Sikh community has increased manifold over social media. It is quite ironical that social media which was meant to bridge the distances has now become a dumping ground for hate. The vicious genocidal tweets and the threats of repeating the horrors of 1984 has certainly shaken the pillar of “Unity in Diversity”-a belief that is inherent in the Indian culture.

Background of the incident

On January 05, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was supposed to visit Punjab to attend a rally in Ferozepur but the series of incidents that followed stirred political upheaval.

While the Prime Minister was travelling from Bathinda to National Martyrs Memorial in Hussainiwala, his cavalcade got stranded on the flyover for 15-20 minutes owing to road blockade by the farm protestors.

The security breach led PM Modi to return back without attending the event. The home ministry described the incident as a “major lapse” in his security and even condemned the Punjab government for the incident.

Reaction of the Ministers

While the breach of security was serious and can never be justified  but the way the ministers got along with the incident is even more disturbing. Instead of cooperatively investigating with the Punjab government as to investigate where the security lacked, BJP’s ministers were seen accusing the Punjab government of a pre-planned conspiracy against Modi while simultaneously showing their theatrics and Congress as well proved that it lacked the taste of democracy by responding with distasteful comments on the incident. Thus, both the parties exposed themselves to ridicule without thinking for once about the prime institution of India whose security was under threat and not just Narendra Modi-the politician.

Indian politics has already witnessed the blood curdling attacks on Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and thus this breach is a matter of grave concern but it is a sad state of affairs that democracy is going at an all time low. The matter has now reached the Supreme Court for further probe.

Outpour of threats on Social Media

Soon this incident of security lapse spread like wildfire and became the subject of hatemongering on twitter and social media platforms. The users targeted the Sikh community with their vile comments and threats:

“If even a scratch would have come to @narendramodi ji, then you must understand @rahulgandhi what could have happened…? 1984 would be dwarfed in all memories, be aware clearly. Modi ji is the head of a family of 130 crore Indians,” said  Sushil Kedia, a verified twitter handle.

Another tweet said, “The 1984 riots took place only in Delhi. This is Modi. His popularity is known to everyone. The entire Sikh community would have been wiped off in India and abroad God forbid”.

As if this was not enough, prominent members from the right wing and BJP took to Twitter to spew hate:  

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.” However, he later deleted the tweet but that cannot in anyway cover the potential threat of violence on his side.

Also, a particular tweet made rounds on twitter which said, “A tree had fallen in 1984 and the earth shook. He (Modi) is Mount Everest. There will be total devastation”.

This tweet is a reference to what the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had said after Indira Gandhi’s assassination: “When a big tree falls, the earth shakes”. These words by the former Prime Minister served as the justification of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

And the list of hateful tweets against the Sikh community continued coming in with more intensified outrage and  abhorrence.

Response to this collective hate

As a response to the anti-Sikh hate that flooded the social media platforms, former professor of sociology from Panjab University, Chandigarh, Manjeet Singh, said, “Dubbing the prime minister’s security lapse as ‘Repeat of 1984’, talking about slain prime minister Indira Gandhi and targeting Punjabis will amount to aggravating the political situation in Punjab, which is quite disillusioned at the moment.”

Also, Akal takht head, Giani Harpreet Singh detested the online hate terror and defamation  of the Sikhs while condemning the security breach of the PM.

However, this is not the first time that a particular community has been targeted. From the Bulli app meant to troll and dishonour Muslim women  to the  vandalisation of Churches in several parts of India, this has become the order of the day which if goes unchecked will bring total disorder.