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“You Be Careful,” Ram Madhav Tells BBC Journalist After Being Grilled On Subramanian Swamy’s Comments On Muslims

The journalist told Madhav that he was living in a parallel universe of his own after Madhav rejected the allegations that the BJP government led by Narendra Modi has used the coronavirus pandemic lockdown to go after the Muslim community.

Talking to Stephen Sackur on BBC HARDtalk, BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav faced a flurry of questions that he seemed uncomfortable answering to. He faced intense grilling by the BBC journalist who questioned him on various issues including Subramanian Swamy’s ‘Muslims not equal’ comments, Kapil Mishra’s communal tweets, and Home Minister Amit Shah’s ‘termites’ jibe aimed at Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh. Madhav, however, tried to provide justification to these statements by his party leaders.

The journalist told Madhav that he was living in a parallel universe of his own after Madhav rejected the allegations that the BJP government led by Narendra Modi has used the coronavirus pandemic lockdown to go after the Muslim community.

Countering the refusal by Madhav on Muslim discrimination, Sackur said,  “Are you not aware that just last month the BJP MP, Subramanian Swamy, said, ‘Muslims if they become anything like 30% of our population, they will be a danger to the country.’ Muslims, he said, are not in an equal category. This is the language of pure discrimination and coming from senior figures in your party.”

Madhav, who looked visibly at unease with the question, said, “Ok, I have not seen the statement directly. I take it that what you are saying is true. You be careful that if it is not true, you will be sued by Dr. Swamy. Having said that, we do not approve of such sentiments.”

The question came in reference to Swamy’s statement in one news interview where he was asked if the newly amended citizenship act violated article 14 of the constitution that grants equal rights to all Indian citizens regardless of their religious background.

Swamy had said, “I can tell you that’s the misinterpretation of Article 14. Article 14 guarantees equality for equals.”

“All people are not equal. There’s no such thing called equal rights. They are not in equal category,” Swamy had further added.

Stephen Sackur then went on to ask Madhav about the statement Amit Shah had made referring to Muslim Bangladeshi immigrants as ‘termites’ during one of his rallies. Sackur asked, “If you are so sure that there is no racism, deep discrimination, communal hate at the heart of your party and movement’s ideology, how do you react when your own Home Minister Amit Shah describes migrants from Muslim majority Bangladesh living in India as ‘termites’ who will be thrown into the Bay of Bengal? It’s the classic techniques of ‘othering’ and dehumanising those you regard as second class. How do you react to it yourself?”

Madhav responded that Shah’s statement was taken out of context to which the HARDtalk host countered that what would be the right context to term even illegal Muslim immigrants ‘termites.’

Sackur also questioned Madhav over the statements made by BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who’s often accused of sparking the riots in north-east Delhi in late February. Sackur asked, “So what has happened to Kapil Mishra for example, who is known for his intemperate language, who tweeted, ‘These people from the Tablighi Jamaat have begun spitting at doctors and other health workers. It is clear that the aim of these people is to infect as many people as possible with coronavirus and kill them.’ He’s referred to them as coronavirus terrorists and he means Muslims.”

Madhav, responding to the question, said, “All such statements are wrong we’ve condemned them. We’ve cautioned and warned such functionaries if they are indulging in such statements.”

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