Keshav Prasad Maurya, the Deputy Chief Minister of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh vehemently justified the genocidal speeches made at Haridwar’s Dharam Sansad only to realize his folly during an interview. The next moment he abruptly stopped the interview and started forcing the interviewer to delete the video clips related to the interview.
Finding the interviewer un-obliging, the minister flew into a rage calling him an “agent”. He snapped at the poor reporter and snatched his mask while asking his security men to delete the portion of the interview from the video footage where he defended the indefensible in reply to a query on the Dharm Sansad call for genocide of Muslims.
Before stopping the interview midway, he tried to justify what was said by Hindutva hate mongers at the two-day event in December last year. The priests had given an open call for genocide of Muslims calling upon Hindus to take up arms for establishing Hindu Rashtra.
The call for genocide was followed by a huge outrage and overall condemnation throughout the India. While prominent citizens from different quarters reacted to the provocative speeches with shock and dismay, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttarakhand Chief Minister and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) kept a studied silence so far.
Maurya is probably the first BJP leader to speak up on the issue but the fact that he spoke in defence of the hate mongers may not go well with the party.
Asked whether leaders should assure that they are not against a particular religion, Maurya said, “We don’t need to prove ourselves. We believe in ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas (development and support of all). The seers have the right to express themselves from their platforms.”
He further said, “Why are you only asking about Hindu leaders? What about comments made by other religious leaders? How many had to leave Jammu and Kashmir before Article 370 was scrapped, why don’t you talk about that? When you raise questions, they should not be for only one group. Dharam Sansad is not a BJP event. It is of religious leaders”.
Pointing out two hate preachers, Narsinganand and Annapoorna, from Uttar Pradesh are vitiating the atmosphere, the BBC Hindi reporters asked Maurya as to what action was taken against them. To this, he again went on to defend the genocidal calls by saying, “The seers can say what they believe in. This is not related to politics. And there are Muslim and Christian leaders too. Talk about them too.”
When pressed further for his stand on the genocide calls given at the hateful religious event, Maurya made a wane bid to backtrack, saying, “I don’t know what video you are talking about. Are you asking about elections? You are not talking like a journalist. You are talking like the agent of a specific group. I won’t talk to you. ”
The Deputy Chief Minister then took off his mic as the video abruptly ended.
Meanwhile, social media users reacted to Maurya’s justification for genocide calls with anger and outrage.
Prominent social activist Kavita Krishnan slammed Maurya for justiying genocide call.
Disclaimer: UP deputy CM defends Haridwar genocide call - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view