EXCLUSIVE—Facebook Removes Hindutva Leader Ragini Tiwari’s Video Threatening Protesting Farmers

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Screen grab Ragini Tiwari’s video exhorting her supporters against protesting farmers

Facebook’s move to pull down the video, uploaded on Saturday morning, came after alert and  queries from Clarion India asking whether the video ran against the company’s community standards. 

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Facebook on Tuesday removed a video post uploaded on a pro-Bajrang Dal account that showed a self-styled Hindutva activist, Ragini Tiwari, threatening to herself clear the roads occupied by farmers on Delhi borders in protest against the controversial farm Bills.

Facebook’s move to pull down the video, uploaded on Saturday morning, came after alert and  queries from Clarion India asking whether the video ran against the company’s community standards.

“We have removed the post as the video violated our  Violence & Incitement policy in Community Standards,” a Facebook company spokesperson said in response to an email from Clarion India.

In the video, Tiwari was seen exhorting her supporters to prepare for December 17 to free Delhi from protesting farmers.

“I am asking my sisters to prepare for December 17. If the government is unable to get Delhi free from the farmers’ movement, then Ragini Tiwari will turn it into another Jafrabad and the Central and state governments and Delhi Police will be responsible for any eventuality, Jai Shree Ram. Oh the nationalists of India, support Ragini Tiwari on December 17; we will deal with farmers movement….. if it does not end by 16  December then Ragini Tiwari will clear the roads.”

Jafarabad is a locality in North East of Delhi that made headlines in late February for being the epicentre of communal riots that claimed over 50 lives, majority of them Muslims.

The violence broke out following a provocative speech by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Kapil Mishra against the women who had blocked  a stretch of road in Jafrabad in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment ) Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Back then, Tiwari had done a Facebook live on February 23 from Jafrabad. According to a report in the Quint, Tiwari had said: “Enough attacks on Hinduism. We won’t tolerate such attacks anymore. Hindus, come out. Die or kill. Rest shall be seen later. If your blood hasn’t boiled even now, it’s not blood but it is water.” She was reportedly seen throwing stones along with rioters in presence of police officials

In an interview with the Quint, Tiwari identified herself as a follower of Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, and said she ran a community of Hindu women but is not affiliated with any organisation.

Tiwari’s latest threat against farmers protesting on the borders of Delhi since late November went viral after Human Rights Lawyer Tamana, who is associated with United Against Hate, shared the video on Twitter with an alarm about potential outbreak of violence. She had sourced the video from Facebook.

Facebook has a policy of taking action against violent content in order to prevent potential offline harm that may be related to content on its platform. But recent reports in the media have pointed out the company’s hesitation in applying its hate speech rules against individuals or groups close to the BJP government.

The action against Tiwari’s video on a pro-Bajrang Dal account comes days after the Wall Street Journal published a report which said that Facebook refrained from banning the Bajrang Dal, a militant Hindu youth wing, due to fear of  business loss and threat of physical violence against its staff.

Tiwari alleged in the video that “in the garb of farmers’ movement there is conspiracy to support the release of anti-nationals and traitors like Sharjeel Imam and Umar Khalid…we cannot become Gandhi’s monkeys and watch such a conspiracy blindly.”

The video sparked outrage on social media with many demanding police action against Tiwari.

Soon, the Deputy Commissioner of Police North East Delhi announced on Twitter that Station House Officer of Jafrabad police station had been directed to take “necessary action”.

When Clarion India contacted SHO Jafrabad for comment, he said: “I am not the right person you are talking to.”

The Delhi Police which comes under the Union Home Ministry has been subjected to criticism for its failure to rein in people like Tiwari accused of provoking people to violence. Instead, the Police jailed  anti-CAA activists like Khalid and Imam under harsh laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act on charges of hatching a conspiracy to fuel riots.

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