A video clip of National Executive Council member of Communist Party of India Kanhaiya Kumar’s interview with NDTV journalist Ravish Kumar was shared by BJP UP spokesperson Shalabh Mani Tripathi with the claim that Kanhaiya termed Naxalites “martyrs”. The video has been shared after 22 security personnel were killed in a Maoist attack in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur. Tripathi also shared the video on his Facebook profile.

In the clip, Kanhaiya can be heard saying, “The martyrdom of all martyrs should be recognised. War should be fueled against those who are making them martyrs. The ones who were termed Naxals and killed, they are also martyrs.” (सारे शहीदों को शहादत का दर्जा देना चाहिए औऱ जो इन्हें शहीद बना रहे हैं उनके खिलाफ जंग छेड़ी जाए। मैं कहता हूं कि जन्हें नक्सली बताकर मारा जा रहा है वो भी शहीद हैं.)

Another user Dr. Kaushal K.Mishra @drkaushalk shared the clip with the same claim.

It is widespread on both Twitter and Facebook.

Video also shared after 2019 Naxal attack

The same video was circulated in the aftermath of the Maharashtra Naxal attack on May 1, 2019 where 15 security personnel were martyred.

Among those who circulated the clip was BJP MLA Rameshwar Sharma (archive).

BJP member Surendra Poonia also tweeted the video, drawing over 22,000 views at the time (archive).

The clip that most social media users posted, carried a stamp of ‘Political Kida’, which is a prominent pro-BJP propaganda page that regularly shares misinformation.

Never Forget,

For Anti-nationals like Kanhaiya Kumar, the Maoists who kill our Jawans are ‘Shaheed’, ‘Gareeb ka Beta’.

Posted by Political Kida on Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Clipped video

Alt News located the video of Kanhaiya’s complete interview with Ravish Kumar and found that the portion viral on social media was lifted from a 2016 interaction. The description of the video reads, “After his arrest on sedition charges, JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar was released on bail yesterday (Thursday). In an exclusive interview with NDTV, he said, “I did not organise the program held on February 9. I do not know whether anti-national slogans were raised or not because I wasn’t present at the spot”.”

The interview was about the 2016 JNU sedition row. At about 37:16 minutes into the video, Ravish Kumar says, “ये बहुत तर्क चल रहा है कि सीमा पर जवान शहीद हो रहे हैं और आप इस तरह से मिनिमम यूनिटी जैसी अय्य़ाशी जैसी बात कर रहे हैं। सब आप पढ़े लिखे लोग हैं, आप ऐसी बातें क्यों कर रहे हैं? ये चल रहा है, खथरनाक सा सवाल है और कई बार तो लगता है इसका जवाब ही नहीं होता है। आपने कहा था आपके भाई की शहादत हई थी सीआरपीएफ में थे, नक्सलियों से लड़ते हुए। कभी आपको लगा कि आप उनकी शहादत को कमतर कर रहे हैं…”

An approximate English verbatim of his question is:

“There is growing rhetoric that jawans are getting killed at the border and you are talking about irrelevant topics of minimum unity. You are educated folks, why are you saying such things? This has been going on and it’s a very dangerous question and sometimes, there is no answer to such questions. You had said that your brother was in the CRPF and was martyred while fighting Naxalites. Have you ever felt that you are demeaning the martyrdom of your brother?”

To this, Kanhaiya replied, “रवीश जी, हम किसी की शहादत को कमतर नहीं करना चाहते। हमारी तो लड़ाई ही यही है कि सारे शहीदों को शहादत का दर्जा देना चाहिए औऱ जो इन्हें शहीद बना रहे हैं उनके खिलाफ जंग छेड़ी जाए। मैं कहता हूं कि जन्हें नक्सली बताकर मारा जा रहा है वो भी शहीद हैं, आदिवासी हैं। जो तथाकथित नक्सली हिंसा मे शहीद हो रहा है वो भी उनके जैसा गरीब का बेटा है। जो लोग इस देश में अनाज उपजा रहे हैं.. मेरे देश की धरती सोना उगले, उगले हीरे-मोती… वो किसान जो मर रहे हैं वो भी इस देश के शहीद हैं, और जो सीमा पर लोग मर रहे हैं वो भी शहीद हैं। इन सारे शहीदों को एकजुट होना है। ये सारे परिवार जो हैं इनके परिवार को शहीद के परिवार का दर्जा मिलना चाहिए। और ये सारे शहीद जब रोड़ पर निकलेंगे एक साथ, जय जवान-जय किसान, मजदूर, आदिवासी, किसान का बेटा.. ये सब जब एक साथ होगा, तभी वो लोग जो इनको शहीद बना रहे हैं उनकी राजनीति को एक्सपोज किया जाएगा कि लड़ाई होती क्यों है… लड़वाते कौन हैं..”

This translates to:

“Ravish ji, I do not want to demean anybody’s martyrdom. The martyrdom of all martyrs should be recognised. War should be fueled against those who are making them martyrs. The ones who were termed Naxals and killed, they are also martyrs, Adivasis. The ones who are getting killed in so-called Naxal violence, are also sons of poor men just like them. The farmers who are dying are also martyrs of this country. And the ones dying at the borders are also martyrs. All these martyrs should be recognised. Their families should be acknowledged as families of martyrs. When such martyrs – farmers, labourers, Adivasis and farmers’ sons – come together on the streets, only then those who are making these people martyrs, their politics will be exposed – why violence takes place and who initiates it?”

Kanhaiya’s statements, given to Ravish Kumar three years ago, can be interpreted as the young politician talking about the injustice meted out to poor farmers, labourers and Adivasis who are killed in violence garbed under the shroud of an onslaught against Naxalites. The part where he refers to those termed as Naxals and killed, he was talking about the people who are falsely labelled as Naxalites and killed.

Moreover, the interview took place in 2016, therefore, Kanhaiya could not have been referring to either the Maharashtra Maoist attack or the one that recently occurred in Chhattisgarh’s Bijapur.

Similar clip viral

Another clip from the same interview was pushed into the fake news ecosystem on social media in 2019. Here, Kanhaiya can be heard saying, “The killing of innocent Adivasis who have been accused of being a Naxalite, I do not support this as well. People kill innocent Adivasis by terming them ‘Naxalites’, and the ones who are standing in support of these Adivasis are also termed Naxalites and killed.” (किसी भोले-भाले आदिवासी को नक्सली बता कर मार देना, उसका भी समर्थन नहीं करते हैं। और ये लोग जो भोले-भाले आदिवासी को भी मारते हैं , नक्सली बता कर मारते हैं, आज जो लोग आदिवासियों के पक्ष में खड़े हो रहे हैं, उनको नक्सली बता कर के मार रहे हैं।)

कन्हैया कुमार नक्सलियों को मानता है भोला भाला नक्सली हिंसा को ‘तथाकथित’

कन्हैया कुमार नक्सलियों को मानता है भोला भाला
नक्सली हिंसा को ‘तथाकथित’

Posted by India272+ on Wednesday, 1 May 2019

This video was shared on Twitter as well.

In the complete video, at around 10:33 minutes, Kumar says, “अब देखिये मेरे घर में मेरा भाई CRPF में था और वो मारा गया। उनका नाम पप्पू था। वो मारे गए। और मज़ेदार बात ये है कि जो मुझे पूछा जाता है कि तुम नक्सली लोग हो, वो नक्सली हिंसा में ही मारा गया। लेकिन इस बात को कैसे मिला दिया जाता है। नक्सली हिंसा अपनी जगह पर गलत है, हम उसको समर्थन नहीं करते हैं। लेकिन किसी भोले-भाले आदिवासी को नक्सली बता कर मार देना, उसका भी समर्थन नहीं करते हैं। और ये लोग जो भोले-भाले आदिवासी को भी मारते हैं , नक्सली बता कर मारते हैं, आज जो लोग आदिवासियों के पक्ष में खड़े हो रहे हैं, उनको नक्सली बता कर के मार रहे हैं। ये बहुत खतरनाक ट्रेंड है इस देश के लिए।”

An approximate English verbatim of his statements is as follows:

“In my home, my brother was in the CRPF and was killed in Naxal attack. His name was Pappu and he was killed. It is ironical that people say “you are a Naxalite” and he was killed in Naxal violence. Two separate issues are being mixed here – Naxal violence is wrong and we do not support it but the killing of an innocent man who has been accused of being a Naxalite, I do not support this as well. People kill innocent Adivasis by terming them ‘Naxalites’, and the ones who are standing in support of these Adivasis are also termed Naxalites and killed. This is a very dangerous trend for the country.”

In the aforementioned portion of the interview, Kanhaiya was not calling Naxalites ‘innocent’ but was using the term for tribals who are wrongly accused of being Maoists and killed.

Earlier, another video of Kanhaiya Kumar was lifted from an old speech, clipped and presented on social media to portray that he made an anti-Hindu statement.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.