Home Minister’s jibe at the UAH is seen as a consequence of the efforts of the group to expose the Hindutva agenda which is rooted in hate and is exclusionist in nature..
NEW DELHI — In his address to the Lok Sabha during the debate over the Delhi violence, Home Minister Amit Shah made a mention of the United Against Hate (UAH). He said UAH called for blocking of streets during Donald Trump’s India visit.
Shah’s words implied that the group was responsible for provoking Hindutva forces to indulge in violence. “United Against Hate – the name sounds so pious, but see what they talk about,” Shah had said.
Before his address, BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi also made similar allegations against the group. She blamed Umar Khalid, a well-know youth leader associated with the UAH, for his public statements and said, “They call themselves United Against Hate, but they themselves spread hate.” Similar allegations were made by Tejaswi Surya, another BJP MP from Bengalore.
The comments by the members of ruling party led by the home minister targeting UAH is seen as a concerted attempt by the government to go after the activists in order to scuttle the country wide protests against CAA-NRC raging from the last three months.
Just when the Citizenship Amendment Bill was introduced in Parliament, UAH gave a call urging people to rise in protest. Its activists led multiple protests at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Subsequently, other political formations joined in. The police action triggered further protests, women of Shaheen Bagh and elsewhere hit the streets, and thus began the people’s movement against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
United Against Hate, a citizens’ campaign against rising hatred and intolerance began in 2017 summer, when India saw a rise in the incidence of mob lynching. Its founding members are activists like Nadeem Khan, Banojyotsna and Umar Khalid who were already forceful dissenting voices.
The group not only campaigned against hate politics and right-wing violence, but also became a platform for the victim families. UAH is also involved in documenting the cases of hate crime and helping the families get justice. The group works for the rights of not just Muslim minorities but also highlight the plight of Dalits, women, Christians and other marginalised sections.
The CAA and NRC being discriminatory in its core and part of the right-wing agenda of the Sangh Parivar, the UAH opposed it from the outset and launched a movement urging the government to roll back the new steps.
Khalid Saifi, who is a vocal member of the group, was arrested by the police on February 26 at the Khureji sit-in site. His arrest came at a time when mob violence that left over 50 people dead was raging in parts of Delhi.
Home Minister Amit Shah’s jibe at the UAH is seen as a consequence of the efforts of the group to expose the Hindutva agenda which is rooted in hate and is exclusionist in nature.
Following the utterances of the BJP leaders in Parliament, UAH released a statement that denied the allegation made against it. “We are appalled at this bogus allegation thrown at us,” the statement said. It accused the BJP of “weaving a false narrative” about Delhi violence.
The statement defended the speech of Umar Khalid and said that he was talking about “Uniting India” while rulers were “diving India”.
“On the 24th (of February), when Donald Trump comes to India, we will state that the Prime Minister and the Government of India are trying to divide the country; they are destroying the values of Mahatma Gandhi; and that the people of India are fighting against the rulers. If the rulers want to divide India, the people of India are ready to work towards uniting the country. We will come out in the streets. Will you people come out?” — the statement quoted from Khalid’s speech that he delivered in Amravati.
While condemning the “dog whistling,” the group termed the accusations as “false” and said that they will not be deterred from doing their work. “We are proud of our activities to uphold the values of the Constitution, for liberty, equality, fraternity and justice.”