NEW DELHI – Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya vehemently justified the genocidal speeches made at Haridwar’s Dharam Sansad only to realise his folly during an interview with the BBC Hindi. The next moment he abruptly stopped the interview and started forcing the BBC crew to delete the video clips related to the interview.
Finding the interviewer unobliging, the minister flew into a rage calling him an “agent”. He snapped at the poor reporter and snatched his mask while asking his security men to delete the portion of the interview from the video footage where he defended the indefensible in reply to a query on the dharm sansad call for genocide of Muslims.
Before stopping the interview midway, he tried to justify what was said by Hindutva hatemongers at the two-day event in December last year. The priests had given an open call for genocide of Muslims calling upon Hindus to take up arms for establishing Hindu Rashtra.
The call for genocide was followed by a huge outrage and overall condemnation throughout the country. While prominent citizens from different quarters reacted to the provocative speeches with shock and dismay, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uttarakhand Chief Minister and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) kept a studied silence so far.
Maurya is probably the first BJP leader to speak up on the issue but the fact that he spoke in defence of the hate mongers may not go well with the party.
Asked whether leaders should assure that they are not against a particular religion, Maurya said, “We don’t need to prove ourselves. We believe in ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikaas (development and support of all). The seers have the right to express themselves from their platforms.”
He further said, “Why are you only asking about Hindu leaders? What about comments made by other religious leaders? How many had to leave Jammu and Kashmir before Article 370 was scrapped, why don’t you talk about that? When you raise questions, they should not be for only one group. Dharam Sansad is not a BJP event. It is of religious leaders”.
Pointing out two hate preachers, Narsinganand and Annapoorna, from Uttar Pradesh are vitiating the atmosphere, the reporters asked Maurya as to what action was taken against them. To this, he again went on to defend the genocidal calls by saying, “The seers can say what they believe in. This is not related to politics. And there are Muslim and Christian leaders too. Talk about them too.”
When pressed further for his stand on the genocide calls given at the hateful religious event, Maurya made a wane bid to backtrack, saying, “I don’t know what video you are talking about. Are you asking about elections? You are not talking like a journalist. You are talking like the agent of a specific group. I won’t talk to you. ”
The Deputy Chief Minister then took off his mic as the video abruptly ended.
Meanwhile, social media users reacted to Maurya’s justification for genocide calls with anger and outrage.
Prominent social activist Kavita Krishnan slammed Maurya for justiying genocide call.
Deputy Chief Minister and leader of India’s ruling party says calling for wiping out Muslim community – i.e genocide – is okay. Kudos to the reporter who got him to say this on record. Now no one can say the genocide calls are a “fringe” affair. @UNOSAPG please note https://t.co/3nr2n6E7dY
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) January 11, 2022
There were also others who slammed him for his remarks and behvior.
Who elects these jokers? He first justifies Hindutva terrorists’ call for genocide of Muslims and then walks away from interview because he’s so used to speaking to TV criminals, who are willing to lick his boot. #UttarPradeshElections2022 https://t.co/GdB4it5nlh
— Rifat Jawaid (@RifatJawaid) January 11, 2022
This is unacceptable! @kpmaurya1 lost his temper during a BBC interview, stopped the interview midway & allegedly pulled the reporter @anantzanane’s mask!!! They say his security personnel forced them to delete the video too; but they recovered it later.https://t.co/gPpLttUIC2
— A Mariyam Alavi (@MariyamAlavi) January 11, 2022
In this BBC interview, UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya, being uncomfortable with the questions, not only took off the mic but also deleted the video. Later BBC ‘recovered’ it.
May be Sanghi’s are practiced with only” Godi media “reporters they’re angry with Journalists ? 😉 https://t.co/64diLKtQqG
— Manickam Tagore .B🇮🇳✋மாணிக்கம் தாகூர்.ப (@manickamtagore) January 11, 2022