Internet links pertaining to several old hate speeches by BJP leaders now go blank and activists claim that an organised process of removing footprints of hate is underway.
Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI: At several occasions in the last four years of the BJP-led NDA government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, articles or stories that go against the interests of the government or ruling party or its politicians have been taken down from the internet by the media. But a latest research by some eminent civil rights activists has made a shocking revelation that lots of content, whether videos or news articles, particularly on riots and hate speeches, derogatory comments against Muslims, Christians and other minorities allegedly made by BJP leaders have also been removed from internet.
The team that recently launched “Dismantling India, A Four Year Report” on the Modi government has claimed that during data search for compiling the report, they found that most of the news articles that went against the government are also no longer available on the internet.
According to them, online videos and articles pertaining to hate speeches by BJP leaders have mysteriously disappeared from the websites or video streaming portals where they had once been. They particularly pertain to riots, hate speeches or derogatory comments against Muslims, Christians, Dalits and women by the BJP leaders.
The team of civil rights activists discovered this while they were researching for a report on four years of government performance. The report called Dismantling India has recently been launched.
On the occasion of report release, renowned civil rights activist and founding member of ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy) Shabnam Hashmi said, “There is very organised cleansing process of the internet which is happening. You wouldn’t find those speeches of Mr Modi in YouTube because they were removed even before 2014 general elections. What he spoke during Gaurav Yatra which is full of venom has been removed. Now they are removing articles, editorials which are against Modi, BJP and RSS.”
The team claimed that most of the news articles that went against BJP including those that they had mentioned in their two earlier reports launched after 100 days and one year of Modi government respectively are also no longer available on the internet.
Talking to Caravan Daily, researcher and civil rights activist Leena Dabiru said, “When we were compiling the data we had several tables on various issues like hate speeches against Muslims and Christians, reports on Dalits and women. Since it is four years’ report, we were tracking the things from the day when BJP came to power in 2014. While tracking the links online we found that they don’t exist any longer. They were showing ‘404 Error’. This error was there in almost all the files which were directly associated with those who delivered speeches that created some kind of communal disharmony and are now ministers, MPs and MLAs of the ruling party .”
While cross-checking, the team discovered that such videos and articles both have been removed.
“Not only have the videos been removed from YouTube or personal accounts, articles in mainstream newspapers like The Hindu, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, and The Indian Express have also removed,” Dabiru said.
“Some old data of 2012 is available but certain articles which were very important for us and we thought they would give more insight have been removed. We tried search with names and locations where the riots had taken place or a hate speech had been delivered, still we could not find many of the articles or any other link,” she further said.
‘Dismantling India’ states that 28 sitting MPs and MLAs of the BJP had hate speech cases against them – this is the highest number across political parties.
In April this year NDTV too in its own findings about hate speech reported that 90% of hateful speeches/comments made during the NDA’s current term are by BJP politicians. It also concluded that there as increase of 490% in hate speeches in comparison to Congress led UPA 2.
Media Being Intimidated
Leena Dabiru said, “Some of the articles we could get were from those media organizations which probably didn’t get intimidated. This shows how the media houses are working and how they are being intimidated. This was very surprising for us.”
Dabiru said that even if some media websites have been upgraded they must preserve all the important stories.
Pointing out some gaps in crime bureau recordings pertaining to atrocities against Dalits, attacks on Muslims and Christians, even atrocities against children and women Dabiru revealed another shocking fact.
She said that if the perpetrator belonged to ruling party, then it is missing.
On articles pertaining to women atrocities she said, “Crime bureau would register crime against women. This is alarming situation that those stories are also not there. At least one or two stories should be in crime or women or relevant sections. It gives an impression that they might have conveniently removed the articles to please this government.”
The report also cited Spend India’s data base on hate and mob lynching which states 97% incidents of violence occurred after BJP came to power in the centre and Modi assumed office in 2014 and 84% of those killed in these attacks were Muslims and 8% Dalits for alleged smuggling, slaughter, and eating of cattle.
Removing of Footprints
Another team member and eminent human rights activist Dr John Dayal, said that compilation of Dismantling India was not easy because the main problem was where to get exact data.
“We come across this huge problem. When these fascist forces do something and write something, as a move on they remove their foot prints from the internet. They are also trying to remove their foot prints from the media because it is scared. Removing foot prints is proof that they are crooks and killers because any decent person has no reason for hiding whatever he has said.”
“This book (four years report) is a permanent record of their misdoings and also the fears of four years since they came to power. It is book to educate the people, mobilize the people,” he said.
Expressing his concern over the threat to media, Dayal said, “I find partly of the media has been bought over literally. So whatever the master says, the editor and the reporter has to follow or lose his job.”
Some of the Articles of Hate Removed From Internet
Here are headlines of a few articles or videos of objectionable content that are no longer available on Internet:
28 June, 2014, Indian Express
MP cites security for Christian profiling
2 September 2014, The New Indian Express
Communal tension flares up in Biramitrapur
2 December 2014, First Post
First ‘shehzada’ now ‘haramzada’: BJP MoS unleashes latest pre poll offensive
2 December 2014, IBNlive
Muslims, Christians sons of Rama, those who don’t believe in it should leave India: BJP Minister
12 December 2014, Times of India
Adityanath firm on ‘ghar vapsi’ of 6k on Xmas day