Believe it or not, in four years since 2007 an average of 25 women have been added to the imaginary number of women gang-raped in the Gujarat 2002 riots. That is how Shabnam Hashmi churns out figures. Now, Shabnam Hashmi is an activist extraordinaire, a media pet and an expert on communal issues. No matter what the discussion she will invariably come up with and link the issues to Ayodhya, Gujarat riots and Narendra Modi. Her world becomes complete with these three topics.
In 2007 Hashmi wrote an open letter to Narendra Modi about 300 women being gang-raped who are yet to get justice. This was in response to Modi’s offer of shelter to Taslima Nasreen in Gujarat. Taslima, being hounded by her own country Bangladesh and later by Bengal and the Indian govt, is a muslim writer whose writings have angered her community. You may carry on accusing Modi of a thousand things but what could possibly be wrong with such a gesture? But then for the likes of Shabnam Hashmi Modi represents the punching bag which keeps their careers and their NGOs funded. Now the lies that the NGOs peddled have already been exposed over and over again yet Hashmi continues to dangle hate through numbers.
On Sunday, September 25, Narendra Modi was to hold a huge rally at Vastral on the outskirts of Ahmedabad. Obviously, he would make some political statements, but where was Shabnam Hashmi? She was right there in a predominantly muslim locality asking them to boycott Modi’s rally. What was her charge? Well, here’s what DNA reports: “Hashmi talked about the 400 women of 2002 riots who were allegedly gang-raped during the riots and were yet to get justice. She also talked in abusive terms about the Muslims who had attended Modi's Sadbhavna fast.” So, from the charge of 300 women gang-raped in 2007, according to her letter to Modi, the number has now risen to 400. Such is the power of lies that are used to spread hatred.
The original accusation of 300 women, or any number, being gang-raped has not been backed by any evidence. Those lies already stand exposed. Now Shabnam Hashmi peddles more lies by throwing up a number of 400. Her letter of 2007 also accuses Modi of women being treated badly in Gujarat. Well, I don’t carry numbers or statistics but I am sure Hashmi can see only one state in India’s map and that is Gujarat. Safety or Crimes against women is altogether an issue and has little to do with her hatred for Modi.
Hashmi didn’t stop there, she went on to shower contempt on those who attended Modi’s Sadbhavna event: "We want to stop this politics of hate and you people don't feel ashamed in going to Modi's fast with the skullcap on your head? You posed for photographs with him after taking Rs200 to Rs500?" she said, referring to the chief minister in derogatory terms.“We will not stop anybody who wants to go to the Vastral rally but they should understand that all this is politics. People of India will never let Modi become the prime minister."
Now whatever else the criticism of the Sadbhavna Mission there is hardly any sense or maturity in showering scorn on those who attended it. Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Muslims, Jains and more attended it. Yet, Hashmi goes on to lecture the Muslim community with the hope and intention of permanently keeping them from integration. I call it hate engineering! I guess throwing up vague, irresponsible statements is a significant feature of hate engineering. There is no other way to describe the acts of Shabnam Hashmi. Ironically, such hate-mongers camouflage their intent and acts with smart-sounding NGOs. Hashmi’s NGO is named ANHAD (Act Now for Harmony and Democracy). She is the founder of this NGO along with Harsh Mandar. Now Mandar needs no introduction for his campaign against Narendra Modi. He is now a member of the NAC. I think the right name for these fake harmony mongers would be ‘Been-HAD’ for the manner in which they spread lies to divide communities. I could even comically redefine Anhad as “Act now for hatred and disintegration”!
On the same topic but on a different note DNA carries another article by Girish Patel (September 21). The title straightaway indicts and convicts Narendra Modi: ‘Despite Sadbhavna Narendra Modi guilty under international law’. If you read the article carefully, there is no such international law that exists and India is not a signatory to the International Court or Tribunal. But the writer’s theory could well be a veiled invitation for activists like Hashmi, Mandar and Teesta Setalvad to attempt a misadventure. Fact is, Teesta has already been rapped by the Supreme Court once for writing to the UN about Gujarat riots and trying to internationalise the matter. I do not know much about this Girish Patel or what his persuasion is, but I can tell him that the International Court was created to handle cases from countries whose legal systems were dubious. By his article Patel clearly rubbishes the justice system of India. Whatever our shortcomings, India still has a fine judiciary that is capable of delivering justice. Just because verdicts don’t go your way is no reason to sling mud at our judiciary system. But that is how media crooks invent theories.
For all the talk of women’s rights and safety, Shabnam Hashmi had spewed venom on the Baba Ramdev campaign in early June 2011. Activists like her and some media channels threw so much mud that it emboldened the central govt to carry out a brutal midnight violent attack on a huge crowd of peaceful protesters at the Ramlila grounds. Many were injured but one woman, 51 year old Rajabala, was paralysed for four months and finally died on September 26. I wonder what Hashmi & Co. have to say about that. Your guess is as good as mine. After all democracy or rights or security is not the greatest concern for the hate engineers.