Recently, the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari, a 43-year old former Hindu Mahasabha leader, shook the conscience of the entire nation. He was murdered in a brutal manner over a statement that Tiwari had made against Prophet Muhammad around four years ago. Tiwari’s statement was branded as insulting towards the Prohphet, and Muslim clerics issued a fatwa against Tiwari. One of the religious leaders even announced a bounty of 51 lakh rupees for his head. Around one lakh Muslims took to streets demanding death penalty for Kamlesh Tiwari.
Tiwari was murdered in the most gruesome manner at his residence in the Naka neighbourhood of Lucknow in broad daylight. His throat was barbarically cut and he was shot multiple times and died while being escorted to a hospital. At such a time, one would have expected the mainstream media outlets and portals to discuss the issue of Islamic radicalism which led to the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari. However, till now there have been no signs of a discussion taking place in that direction. The Wire has in fact, gone a step further by interviewing Umar Khalid over this ghastly murder.
Umar Khalid, a wannabe Communist and an accused in the infamous JNU sedition episode of 2016, is known for his anti-Hindu ideology. In many of his interviews, ‘the atheist and communist’, Umar Khalid has claimed that Hinduism is dominated by the upper caste, and that whenever he went to posh colonies, he found only upper-caste surnames scribbled on nameplates of the houses. After the grotesque murder of Kamlesh Tiwari, Khalid who claims to be a strong proponent of free speech did not bother to condemn the murder of Kamlesh Tiwari, which was committed only because some radicals saw his remark about Prophet as insulting. He also did not speak up against those who were gleefully cheering and congratulating each other after Tiwari’s murder, rather he tweeted with the hashtag- ‘Prophet of Compassion’.
It is therefore beyond comprehension that why The Wire chose to interview somebody like Umar Khalid after Tiwari’s murder. Khalid is no progressive Muslim who could have spoken sensitively about the issue, rather his biases and prejudices are now out in the open. The Wire could have invited somebody like the Kerala Governor, Arif Mohammed Khan who is known for his liberal and progressive approach towards such issues.
The contents of the interview are even more disturbing than its backdrop. The interview started with the anchor, Apoorvanand indulging in victim bashing trivialising Tiwari’s murder. He first cast aspersions on Tiwari and branded him as hateful. Thereafter, in one casual sentence, he said that even the murder of such hateful people should be condemned.
The anchor did not stop here, and went on to claim that Tiwari’s murder was still a mystery. With this, he tried to absolve the radical elements for Tiwari’s murder. He tried to imply that it was not clear whether the remarks that Tiwari had made about Prophet Mohammed around four years ago, actually incited the radical elements to commit his murder. The Wire anchor said that while the police is working in a particular direction, the family is saying something completely different. What is important to mention here that a few days ago, the two main accused in the Kamlesh Tiwari murder case were arrested by the Gujarat ATS. The two suspects have been identified as Ashfaqhussain Jakirhussain Shaikh, 34, and Moinuddin Khurshid Pathan, 27, both residents of Surat – from Shamlaji near the Gujarat-Rajasthan border. According to the ATS, primary Investigation has revealed that the two committed the murder “in retribution to purported statements by Tiwari”. After this, it is amply clear that the gruesome murder was committed in retribution to the remarks about the prophet.
What more proof does The Wire need before agreeing that Tiwari’s murder was indeed a result of Hinduphobia and radical Islamism. Leftist outlets like The Wire were not patient enough in other cases like Junaid Khan’s murder, when they passed judgment from day one and claimed that there was a communal angle behind his murder. These outlets were proved wrong later on when the Punjab and Haryana High Court observed in its bail order, “There is neither any evidence of any preplanning to cause incident deliberately or intentionally or to create disharmony.”
Having trivialised Tiwari’s murder at the outset, the entire interview was based on a twisted narrative of how Hindus have been attacking Muslims and how the events following Tiwari’s murder is a threat to the Muslims. This is as delusional as it gets. As stated earlier, when a large section of people took to social media condemning Tiwari’s death, a few Islamist radicals started congratulating each other on social media. It led to widespread anger among thousands of Hindus who tweeted with hashtags against the Islamic Prophet. “Communist” Umar Khalid then came into picture by participating in the Twitter hashtag ‘Prophet of Compassion’. After Tiwari’s brutual murder and radical Islamists celebration of the grotesque murder, The Wire anchor, Apoorvanand and Umar Khalid got together to discuss how these events were actually an attack on the Muslim community.
Umar Khalid who tried claiming that he was combating ‘hate’ with ‘love’, went on to claim that an insult to the Islamic Prophet was actually an insult to the self-respect of the Muslims. He said that the insulting remark which was made could not have been ignored on the pretext that no physical harm was caused. He then also vaxed eloquent about how what is manifesting as an insult today, could result in physical attack on Muslims tomorrow. It must be noted that the insult to the Islamic Prophet that Khalid was talking about is also the direct reason behind Tiwari’s murder. This is exactly the kind of fear-mongering which led to the belief that Tiwari was a threat to Islam and therefore he was eliminated in a brutal manner. Later on, Umar Khalid also went on to argue as to why the Muslims should “rise in rage”, for protecting their self-respect, among other things. These exhortations were of course marked by disclaimers about how this is to be done peacefully, but the sheer idea of invoking the same idea of self-respect that actually led to the grotesque murder of Kamlesh Tiwari, is simply appalling.
With this despicable interview based completely upon victim bashing and twisting ground realities, The Wire has taken its Hinduphobic narrative to a whole new level.