Polarising BJP ad–a second attempt within a week

By  Abdul Hafiz Lakhani  –  AHMEDABAD
Close on the heels a video surfaced in Gujarat  with communal overtones, the State DGP office  handed over to the Cyber Cell the inquiry into a BJP ad which was allegedly tantamount to religious polarisation. Some English newspapers had carried a story on how BJP’s ongoing election blitzkrieg on social media has sparked off a major controversy in Gujarat. Earlier, the Human Rights Law Network had moved a complaint to the Election Commission and the Cyber Cell of the DCB, seeking the ad be banned as it “attempted to polarise voters”. “The inquiry has been entrusted to the Cyber Cell of the DCB following a complaint that the video is being circulated with an intention to cause a communal divide in the society in the context of the Gujarat Assembly Elections, 2017,” said a release issued by the DGP.
 

This is the second attempt in a row to create  communal tension and panic in the public of home state of Modi and Amit shah. Last week, panic gripped Muslim families in some pockets of a Hindu-dominated paldi  area here after some  Muslim societies  found red “cross marks” on the main gates of their societies on  last Sunday morning.An investigation, however, revealed that the marks were painted by the civic body sanitation staff

 

Activist Nirjhari Sinha of Jan Sangharsh Manch says, “This attempt at blatant communal polarization using the medium of social media shows how the ruling government has to fall back on communal tactics to get votes.” Expanding on why she objected to the video, Sinha adds, “Nowhere in the video is any person shown to be stalking or chasing the woman. The only thing that could be heard initially was the azaan as the woman walked home. What does it imply?”

 

 It is an offence to spoil the peace in society ahead of election, says Samshad Pathan, a lawyer, adding “The police need to take action against the persons who made the video under sections of the IPC and the IT Act.”

Rahul Sharma, lawyer and ex-IPS officer, says, “Legally, nothing will happen. Politically, filing a case will bring more publicity to the polarisation that BJP seeks to achieve through this advertisement. It’s like playing into their hands.”

 
‘Women safe here’ Both Hindus and Muslims condemned the video. “The video is factually wrong. Ahmedabad and Gujarat are safe for women. Women have always had the freedom to roam the streets of the city even at midnight. Just go to Manek Chowk or other food joints after dusk to know the truth,” says Uttam Patel, an engineering student.

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