BJP IT cell head, Amit Malviya was recently involved in a face off on a debate on India Today with Yogendra Yadav, the National President of Swaraj India party, where he accused Yadav of playing caste politics. In response, Yadav challenged Malviya saying he would withdraw from public life if Malviya was able to produce any evidence to back his claim.

Yadav had responded to Malviya saying that his grandfather was murdered in the presence of his father by a Muslim mob. Yet, instead of holding bitterness and grudge, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi, he chose to give Muslim names to his children, adding that he doubted if a person like Malviya had the sensitivity to understand this.

Malviya hits back via tweet

A day later, Amit Malviya hit back at Yogendra Yadav, posting a video in which Yadav is seen and heard speaking to a crowd in Muslim dominated Mewat about his Muslim identity. “I usually don’t carry TV debates to social media but making an exception to expose Yogendra Yadav’s Janus face” he tweeted attaching a short video clip. The clip ended with the question, “When are you withdrawing from public life?”

In the clip, Yadav is heard saying “maaf kijiyega sirf ek minute lunga. Aap mein se kai logo ko pata hai, mere dadaji hindu-muslim fasad mein mare gaye they 1936 ki baat hai, Hisar mein unka katal kar diya tha ek muslim bheed thi jisne maar diya tha. Ab sochiye mere pitaji, woh 7 saal ka baccha jisne apne baap ko apni aakhon se samne katal hote hue dekha. Woh chahta to zindagi bhar musalmano se nafrat kar sakta tha, lekin usne tay kiya ki main apne bachho ko muslim naam dunga. Usse mera naam salim pada tha, jo kissa bataya jata hai.”

Translation: Pardon me, I shall take a minute. Many among you know that my grandfather was killed in Hindu-Muslim conflict in 1936. He was killed in Hisar by a Muslim mob. Now think, my father, that seven year old child who saw his father murdered before his eyes. If he wanted he could have hated Muslims all his life, but he decided that he will give Muslim names to his children. That is how I was named Salim.

The same video clip was tweeted by one Chowkidar Ankur Singh, who juxtaposed it with Yadav’s video of the India Today debate in order to mock him.

Based on this clip, Malviya made the allegation that Yadav was playing identity politics by referring to his Muslim name in front of a Muslim audience. “When are you withdrawing from public life?” was a jibe aimed at Yadav’s assertion in the TV debate that he would withdraw from public life altogether if Malviya could substantiate the claim that Yogendra Yadav was playing caste politics. Is there any truth to Malviya’s claim?

Edited video clip

The short video shared by Malviya is edited. Here is what Yadav had said.

“Woh chahta toh zindagi bhar Musalmano se nafrat kar sakta tha. Chahta toh RSS ban sakta tha. Bahut sadahran baat hoti. Lekin uss shaks ne taiy kia ki na Hindu Banega na Musalman Banega, Insaan ki aulad hai, Insaan banega. Aur uss ne taiy kia ki apne bacchon ko mai Muslim naam doonga. Us se mera naam Salim para tha, jo kissa bataya jata hai aaj kal”

Translation: “If he wanted, he could have hated Muslims all his life. If he wanted he could be RSS. It would have been a very ordinary thing. But that person decided that neither Hindu nor Muslim, they will become human. And so he decided that he will give Muslim names to his children. That is how I was named Salim.”

The video was posted live on Facebook on the page of Swaraj India party, on July 29, 2018. The relevant portion begins from 8:33 minutes. The video is captioned ‘मेवात में रकबर खान कि हत्या के बाद वहाँ के पंचायत को संबोधित करते योगेंद्र यादव’ (Yogendra Yadav addressing the panchayat in Mewat after murder of Rakbar Khan- translation).

मेवात में रकबर खान कि हत्या के बाद वहाँ के पंचायत को संबोधित करते योगेंद्र यादव!

Posted by Swaraj India on Sunday, July 29, 2018

He then went on to explain the context saying he is telling this story because “nafrat ja jawab nafrat se dena bahut aasaan kaam hai, chota kaam hai, nafrat ka jawab Mohabbat se dena bahut bara kaam hai aur main yeh chahta hun ki yeh ilaaka jisne bahut barey kaam kiye hain, nafrat ka jawab mohabbat se de” (It is easy to respond to hate with hate, it is a small thing, it is a big thing to answer hate with love and I wish that this place, which has accomplished a lot, respond to hate with love- translation).

The part where Yadav had said “Na Hindu banega na Musalman banega, insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega” was conveniently left out of the video clip which was posted by Malviya, thus suggesting that Yadav was pandering to Muslims by appealing to their identity. On the contrary, he was sharing his own experience about his family which had witnessed the brutality of Hindu-Muslim conflict, yet chose to make peace with themselves and the world around them.

Yadav took to Twitter to refute Malviya’s allegations and shared the unedited clip.

It is clear that the edited clip tweeted by Malviya has removed the context of the statement as well as bits from the speech itself to make it appear that Yadav was informing the crowd about his Muslim name for votes.

It is important to note that this gathering at Mewat was not an election rally but a protest meet after the lynching of a Muslim man by a Hindu mob. It is in this context that Yadav told the crowd about his story and talked about responding to hate with love. The appeal to the crowd not to respond to hate with hate has been edited out in the version shared by Malviya.

Amit Malviya started his tweet by saying that he doesn’t like to carry TV debates on to social media but in reality he not only carried the TV debate to social media, but he carried an edited version of it. Ironically he was trying to ‘expose’ Yogendra Yadav for using his Muslim identity for votes with the help of a clip that was not only edited but was also not of an election rally.