Politicians indulge in hate speech with impunity

April 06, 2009: CNN-IBN
New Delhi: Varun Gandhi isn’t the first or the last politician looking to harvest hate by polarising the electorate.

In the 1970s, Bal Thackeray’s Shiv Sena attacked South Indians for taking away jobs from Maharashtrians, He later targeted Gujaratis, and then Muslims.

¶Islamic terrorism is growing and Hindu terrorism is the only way to counter it. We need suicide bomb squads to protect India and Hindus,¶ Thackeray wrote in 2008.

Raj Thackeray led his own hate campaign against North Indians working in Maharashtra.

¶From today, Maharashtra will only celebrate Maharashtra Diwas. Other states’ celebrations will simply not be allowed,¶ said Raj in 2008.

Section 125 of the Representation of People Act says ¶promoting feelings of enmity or hatred between citizens in connection with elections is punishable with jail up to three years¶.

But no politician has ever been convicted under it.

Majlis-e-Ittihadul Muslimeen party chief Asaduddin Owaisi has frequently made sectarian speeches. In 2007, his party attacked Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen.

Uttar Pradesh Minorities Minister Mohammed Yakoob Qureshi in 2006 called for the beheading of the Danish cartoonist who had drawn a picture of Prophet Muhammed.

BJP MP from Gorakhpur Yogi Adityanath was jailed in 2007 for inciting communal violence. Adityanath has spoken against Muslims publicly several times.

¶If they kill one Hindu, we’ll kill hundreds of them,¶ he once said.

BJP candidate from Bangalore South Ananth Kumar Hegde, too, threatened Muslims openly in a speech.

¶If Muslims behave this way, they won’t be able to celebrate their festivals,¶ he said.

A case has been filed Congress leader Kagodu Thimmappa, also from Karnataka, for making anti-Hindutva statements.

So this General Elections will you vote for those who advocate violence? Will you vote for hate speeches?

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