"“Our boys are not guilty. They (Muslims) distort the pictures of our sisters and daughters. Should we not even murder them?”" - Shri Ram Karni Sena Chief Kunwar Suraj Pal Amu
These words of Shri Rajput Karni Sena Chief Kunwar Suraj Pal Amu in a video that has gone viral on social media have stoked controversy. Amu, who had previously come to the limelight for announcing a reward for beheading actor Deepika Padukone over the controversy surrounding the film ‘Padmaavat’ is back in the news – this time for openly resorting to hate speech against Muslims.
In the latest video, Amu can be heard making a speech before a large assembly of people in Haryana, asserting his endorsement of the lynching of a local Muslim man that took place a few weeks ago.
Asif Khan, who hailed from Mewat’s Khalilpur Kheda village, was lynched allegedly by a mob of Gujjar men on the night of 16 May when he was returning home after buying medicines.
Asif’s cousin Rashid, who was present at the spot at time of the lynching said, “Unhone bola ‘Mulleh, tum logo mein se ek ko bhi nahi chhodenge’ aur ye bhi bola ‘tum sab se hum Jai Shri Ram bulvayenge’ (They said they will not leave any of us alive and also said they will make us chant Jai Shri Ram).”
They pulled Asif out of the car, thrashed him and killed him, Rashid said.
The three prime suspects in the murder case – Rohit, Pradip and Amit – have now been arrested, as per a tweet by the Nuh Police on 6 June.
What Did Amu Say?
Amu, who had addressed a large assembly at a Mahapanchayat held in Indri district of Haryana, could be seen validating the violence by the perpetrators of the Asif Khan murder case.
"We will pound them. Whoever has the courage can try to stop us," he added.
Before beginning his speech, Amu can be seen asking “true and good Hindus” to raise their hands. After a show of hands from the crowd, he then enquires “if there was any child of Pakistan there, he should also raise his hand”. He further says, “Muslims are no one’s brothers. They’re all butchers.”
Amu, who posted the video on his Facebook page on 31 May, captioned it: “Thousands came for the Hindu Mahapanchayat at Indri (Nuh) today. One who submits to a crime is a greater criminal than the one who commits it. If anyone insults our Hindu religion, will you keep silent? Only true Indians comment.”
The Haryana BJP Connection
Born in an affluent Arya Samaj family in 1968 in Haryana's Sohna, Amu became an active member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of 10.
A law graduate, he was a member of the RSS’s student wing – ABVP – and served as its member from 1985 to 1988.
Amu has held several posts in the BJP over the years.
He has served as the State Secretary, State Vice-President, and National Executive Member of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the party.
Significantly, he was made the spokesperson of Haryana BJP in 2013.
From 2014-2019, Amu served as the Chief Media Coordinator for BJP Haryana.
In 2019, he became the President of Shri Rajput Karni Sena, a Rajasthan-based interest group formed to protect and promote the concerns of the Rajput community. The interest group has been accused of incitement of a number of violent incidents in the past few years.
Most prominently, the Haryana BJP leader was arrested under IPC Section 506 (criminal intimidation) over his threats to the makers of the movie ‘Padmaavat’ in 2017.
In January 2018, after being granted bail in the case, Amu resigned from the primary membership of the party. On 8 October, almost eight months after this, Haryana BJP Chief Subhash Barala had reportedly refused to accept his resignation.
"For around 29-30 years I have held different posts in the party and its student wing. The last eight months were very tough for me to stay away from the party. However, I kept working with different social organisations. It is like a homecoming for me," Amu had said.
The ‘Padmaavat’ Controversy
In November 2017, Amu had announced a Rs 10-crore reward for anyone who would behead actor Deepika Padukone and filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali for making ‘Padmaavat’.
Amu had also lauded a Meerut man’s statement to award a Rs 5-crore reward for beheading Deepika Padukone and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He said that the bounty would be doubled to Rs 10 crore.
His speech against the film had allegedly encouraged his followers to take up arms against Padmaavat’s makers. The Haryana BJP leader had then said that the families of those who committed to the deed would be taken care of, as he asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to strike down the film.
Alleging that the movie was disrespectful to the Rajput community, Amu also threatened to ‘break the legs’ of actor Ranveer Singh, who plays the role of Alauddin Khilji in the film.
Haryana’s BJP chief Subhash Barala had issued a show-cause notice to Amu for his incendiary comments.
Superintendent of Police Narendra Bijarniya, alluding to the viral video, told NDTV: "We have taken cognisance of this viral video and we will take action. None of the Mahapanchayats held in the district had prior permission of the administration."
The large assembly was held at a time when there is a widespread lockdown in the country in the aftermath of the devastating second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
(With inputs from NDTV.)
. Read more on Politics by The Quint.FAQ: How Effective Are COVID Vaccines Against Delta Variant?Rajasthan to Haryana, Karni Sena Chief’s ‘Hate Campaign’ Continues . Read more on Politics by The Quint.