Islamophobia thrives in Twitter Spaces by OpIndia editors

On late Wednesday, a far-right news portal OpIndia, hosted a Twitter Spaces to discuss the killing of Kanhaiya Lal, a tailor from Rajasthan, and the extent of Islamism in India. Under the facade of discussing the case, the discussion was overwhelmingly Islamophobic with many speakers making derogatory remarks and disinformation against the Muslim community.

There were several remarks that could incite the Hindu community against Muslim minorities. 

Prominent Hindutva public figures, supporters and activists spoke at the platform, lasting more than 3 hours. Editor in chief of OpIndia – Nupur J. Sharma, hosted the Twitter Spaces.

Chandan Kumar, Professor Digvijay Mishra, A. S. Ajit, Tarek Fatah, Ambuj, Shivam Dixit, Rajesh Kumar, Sushant Sareen, Rohan, Tathastu, Anand Ranganathan, Vandana T.SH, among others were the speakers.

Note that Maktoob only listened to the first 30 minutes of the entire discussion. The talk is recorded by the host and it was listened to by 123,000 users.

Nupur J. Sharma started the program by introducing the details of the Kanniya Lal murder case and then moved on to state how “Allah’s law” demands to behead “kafirs” and those who insult Islam. 

She stated, “…Allah’s law demand that ‘Kafirs’ and those who insult Islam are beheaded, and these two Islamists who carried out the murder did exactly that. They followed Allah’s law and not law of the land…”

Then she lectured on how the rule of the land works. 

Following the lead, Chandan Kumar, editor of OpIndia Hindi, aggressively started with hateful and derogatory remarks on the importance of Friday for Muslims and Friday prayers.

He said, “…this is the first community (Muslims) who have been doing wrongdoings on this particular day (Friday). We’ll do stone-pelting after Friday’s prayers. On the day of Friday prayers, we’ll make a video by taking the name of our prophet, we’ll issue threats. We’ll kill as well. We’ll talk about how we’ll make our country lose on the day of Friday prayers. ‘No, No, today is my day, good day, today my country will lose’… ”

Then Chandan went on to connect this Friday mindset with the religion of Islam and how, because of this mindset, Kanhaiya Lal got killed.

He further said, “…This mindset [Friday mindset] is connected to their religion. In this (mindset), there is no human, there is no country, there is no society. And due to this mindset, Kanhaiya Lal got murdered. Where was Kanhaiya Lal wrong and where was Kanhaiya Lal right, this community (Muslims) doesn’t want to understand it and that’s why Kanhaiya Lal got murdered…”

Afterwards, the mic went back to Nupur J. Sharma and highlighted two points and connected them with the killings of Hindus in Kashmir.

She said, “…For me, the most important point was that it was his neighbour who ratted him out. And secondly, the fact that they posed as customers when they came to kill him. Now both these points have very strong parallels in other cases that we have seen as far as neighbour ratting out Kanhaiya Lal is concerned, we’ve seen this rampantly in Kashmir, where it was a neighbour who ratted out the Hindu and then terrorists found them and killed them…”

“…We have seen the parallel in the Kamlesh Tiwari case where they pretended to be Hindus, the murderers they defended Kamlesh Tiwari and then went and murdered, beheaded him…”

Now, the editor-in-chief of OpIndia claims there’s a pattern these “Islamists” are following. Then she drags in Muslim clerics, madrasas, and Islamic organisations and questions whether they’re teaching these patterns to kill “kafirs” posing as Hindus.

She stated, “…So these are patterns that all of these Islamists seem to be following. Now we also need to discuss how is this that Islamists seem to be following a similar pattern. Have they been taught? That this is how you commit murders? Have these logistical issues surrounding the murder of Hindus, have they been discussed previously? Are they maulanas? Are they madrasas? Are they training camps that are being held? Are these Muslim organisations basically telling these people that the most effective to reach errant ‘kaffir’ is by posing to be a Hindu?…”

Afterwards, the mic was passed on to Professor Digvijay Mishra. He claimed that in the last six months, he has seen six-seven similar cases where a Hindu is killed for writing on social media.

He further stated, “…You don’t know what a milkman who delivers milk at your home can do to you if he belongs to a particular community…”

Then Mishra suggested that there’s a “hidden war” by the Muslim community. That the Muslims may go to buy something and do war.

He said, “…killers are youth (Muslim youth), and they all get mobilized on Friday. So the pattern I’m seeing in this is that we don’t know who can attack you that lives around you. And for what topic he can attack you and what’s the topic he didn’t like…”

Then Mishra urged the Hindus to strengthen the local Hindu organisations and to make the local Hindu group ecosystem even stronger.

Afterwards, the mic was passed back to Nupur Sharma. She agreed with Professor Mishra on the point of making local Hindu organisations even stronger and called it a show of strength.

She stated, “…Point of a show of strength, I think this is one thing we need to focus on as Hindus collectively and I would like to make a special mention of organisations like VHP, Bajrang Dal…all the other organisations like Durga Vahini even RSS for that matter because when push comes to shove these organisations protect us. The people who come to help us (Hindus) are from these organisations. Specially VHP and Bajrang Dal…”

“When the mob (Muslims) is outside your house, the politicians of BJP or Congress will not come because, after all, they’re politicians. Those who will come to defend you (Hindus) and strand in front of Hindus will be the foot-soldiers of VHP and Bajrang Dal, and that’s why it’s so important to support them and extremely important to stop this vilification campaign of these Hindu organisations that work on the ground…”

She further blamed Alt News co-founder Mohammad Zubair, actor Naseeruddin Shah, Farhan Akhtar and leftists for the murder of Kanhaiya Lal and dog-whistling.

She said, “…the other point important is the role of individuals like Mohammad Zubair who started this entire dog-whistling process. Had this dog-whistling process not been started because need to assume and we know for a fact that Zubair as an aware individual whether he is right or wrong of course, we all share the same sentiment. But as an aware individual who follows world news, he knew exactly what the consequences are few individuals are excused for blasphemy against Islam. When they are accused of mocking or saying something against the prophet Mohammad. So he knew the consequences, he knew the women Nupur Sharma will be a marked woman for life and any Hindu who supported Nupur Sharma would be a marked individual for life, and yet he continued the dog whistle.”

“People like Farhan Akhtar, they went on record to say that ‘dill se Maafi nahi paagi gyi hai’ – saying apology that doesn’t come from the heart is no apology at all essentially saying that Nupur Sharma apology should be ignored…”

“…People like Naseeruddin shah so-called ‘moderate Muslims went on to say that if it (India) were an Islam nation then till now she had sentenced to death. So essentially, they were saying, ‘brother this is not a Muslim nation she would have been beheaded by now’…”

“…the direct result of this dog-whistling by the Islamists and the leftists who are the ideological backbone of these Islamic terrorists led directly not only to Nupur Sharma being a marked woman for life but also directly to death and beheading of Kanhaiyalal and others like him…

Then she alleged that there is a method by which “Islamist foot-soldiers” are dog-whistling on social media, then the mosques and madrasas distributing the thoughts to zealots and getting the killings done. 

She said, “…there is a method in the chaos where the ideological foot soldiers of Islamists are dog-whistling on social media that message then percolates down to mosques and madrasas, and then these Islamic zealots take it upon themselves to murder the individual because the concept of Jannat (heaven) and 72 hours is just so real for them. It’s not a mythical concept, they truly and genuinely believe that by beheading Kanhaiya Lal, all that these two are going to Jannat, and the problem with that is there’s no amount of reasoning, no amount of brotherhood, no amount of settlement and compromise that will convince them that anything in this world needs space is worth more than attaining that Jannat…”

Then the mic was passed on to a person named – A.S. Ajit. He directly and clearly stated the murder of Kanhaiya Lal happened because of Islam, and Kanhaiya Lal was a “kaffir”. Also, he was hell-bent to put a stop to the so-called practice of “minority appeasement”.

Ajit further proposed a “political” solution to counter the “Islamists” by hinting at revoking constitutional rights given to Muslims and abolishing secularism.

Afterwards, the mic was passed back to the editor-in-chief of OpIndia. Here, she made the argument that police claims of Pakistan and ISIS links with the murderers are a convenient ploy to wash the hands of regular Indian Muslims off the blood of Kanhaiya Lal. According to her, average Muslims like your colleagues in the office, your vegetable vendor, and so on want to kill you because you’re a “Kaffir”.