Hate speeches and the spiral of hatred in the build-up to the April 2024 General Elections (Muslim Mirror)

Hate Watch

By MuslimMirror

By Irfan Engineer, Neha Dabhade and Mithila Raut

The month of April 2024, witnessed dramatic rise in communal discourse and targeting of Muslim minorities during election campaign for the 18th Lok Sabha. Even the Prime Minister of India delivered hate speeches in no less than ten occasions, according to the monthly monitoring of Centre for Study of Society and Secularism. This monitoring is based on the reports from Mumbai editions of five newspapers – The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindu, Sahafat and Inquilab. Out of the seventeen hate speeches reported in these newspapers, ten were by the Prime Minister alone. Along with the hate speeches in the month of April 2024, there were two communal riots – one in West Bengal and the other in Jharkhand. Both the communal riots stemmed from conflicts over religious processions. Furthermore, there was a persistent effort to erase Muslim presence and heritage from public spaces. In the lead-up to the Lok Sabha election, there was a concerted campaign of spreading unfounded narratives demonizing Muslims for electoral gain.

As mentioned above, the highlight of communal violence in April 2024, was a slew of hate speeches. Out of the seventeen total hate speeches reported in the above-mentioned newspapers, the maximum, ten, were by Prime Minister Modi, three were delivered by Yogi Adityanath, two by Amit Shah, one by Giriraj Singh and one by Mangal Prabhat Lodha – all BJP ministers. These hate speeches sought to demonize Muslims, whip up hysteria about them by portraying them as a threat to the Hindu community and spread falsehood against them.

The seventeen speeches listed below refer to and invoke religion or seek votes in the name of religion which is prohibited by sections of the 123 (3) of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951. The section is as below:

  1. Corrupt practices.—The following shall be deemed to be corrupt practices for the purposes of this Act:—

(3) The appeal by a candidate or his agent or by any other person with the consent of a candidate or his election agent to vote or refrain from voting for any person on the ground of his religion, race, caste, community or language or the use of, or appeal to religious symbols or the use of, or appeal to, national symbols, such as the national flag or the national emblem, for the furtherance of the prospects of the election of that candidate or for prejudicially affecting the election of any candidate:

Provided that no symbol allotted under this Act to a candidate shall be deemed to be a religious symbol or a national symbol for the purposes of this clause.

This story was originally published in muslimmirror.com. Read the full story here.


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