Police Probe BJP Leaders Over Controversial Social Media Post

Featured & Cover Police Probe BJP Leaders Over Controversial Social Media Post

Indian authorities are investigating senior figures from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) following a controversial social media post that has stirred accusations of anti-Muslim sentiment.

The contentious animated video portrays senior leaders from the opposition Congress party favoring Muslims over marginalized communities. The depiction sparked outrage, prompting swift action from law enforcement.

Shortly after the police initiated their inquiry, the Election Commission intervened, directing the social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to remove the video, citing a breach of Indian laws. Despite this, there has been no immediate response from either X or the BJP.

The Election Commission’s intervention came after its electoral officer in Karnataka, where the video originated, had previously instructed X to take down the post. However, this directive was not promptly executed. Notably, the video surfaced just days before voting in Karnataka, which concluded recently.

This is not the first instance of such divisive content from the BJP. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself has echoed similar sentiments during campaign rallies, alleging preferential treatment towards Muslims by opposition parties.

As India progresses through a general election cycle, regulations prohibit political parties from exploiting religious issues for electoral gains. Nonetheless, critics argue that PM Modi and his Hindu nationalist party are resorting to blatant Islamophobia, flouting the electoral code of conduct.

India, with its substantial Muslim population of around 200 million, has witnessed a surge in anti-Muslim rhetoric since the BJP ascended to power in 2014.

The video, initially shared on the BJP’s social media platform in Karnataka, has garnered widespread attention, accumulating over nine million views on X. It depicts caricatures of prominent Congress leaders, Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister K Siddaramaiah, allegedly favoring Muslims over other marginalized groups.

Following a formal complaint lodged by the Congress party with the Election Commission, the Karnataka police registered a case against BJP President JP Nadda, the party’s Karnataka chief, BY Vijayendra, and the head of its IT department, Amit Malviya.

Criticism of the video has poured in from various quarters. Congress MP Manickam Tagore condemned the BJP’s tactics, urging the Election Commission to intervene and uphold the principles of unity in a democratic setup.

British academic Nitasha Kaul likened the video to propaganda reminiscent of 1930s Germany, emphasizing its violation of election regulations.

Opposition leaders and civil society groups have decried BJP’s campaign tactics as divisive and unacceptable. Trinamool Congress MP Saket Gokhale lamented the erosion of ethical standards in the ongoing election.

Congress leader Salman Anees Soz lamented the blatant anti-Muslim sentiment propagated by the BJP.

This incident follows a similar episode where the BJP posted a misleading video on Instagram accusing the Congress of favoring Muslims over non-Muslims, further exacerbating communal tensions.

Despite facing backlash, PM Modi continues to make controversial remarks, including accusations of “vote jihad” and insinuations aligning the Congress with Pakistan’s interests.

Critics argue that such rhetoric not only violates electoral norms but also exacerbates communal tensions in the diverse fabric of Indian society.

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