A video featuring Abhishek Banerjee has been trending recently on social media. Banerjee is a Trinamool Congress MP and the nephew of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. In the video, he alleges that UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath made an objectionable statement about women from the Muslim community. He claims that the BJP leader spoke of raping Muslim women. “Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of one of the largest states of the country is saying, ‘We will take Muslim women out of graves and rape them’,” said Banerjee.
Facebook user Nisar Bhatt posted this video which was shared more than 25,000 times and received over 16,000 likes as of this writing.
BJP Bakht SUSHIL PANDIT Got Bashed By a Youth.
Posted by NBTV on Wednesday, 16 September 2020
Abhishek Banerjee had made this statement in February of this year during a televised debate. The Telegraph held a debate show called ‘The Telegraph National Debate 2020′ at the Calcutta Club on February 15. Also present at the debate were actress Swara Bhaskar and JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh. The purpose of the program was to discuss the ‘anti-national’ label ascribed to anyone dissenting against the government. The MP had also posted a video of his speech on Facebook.
My speech at the Telegraph National Debate, Calcutta Club | আজ ক্যালকাটা ক্লাবে আয়োজিত দ্য টেলিগ্রাফ ন্যাশনাল ডিবেট তে আমার বক্তব্য #Part1
Posted by Abhishek Banerjee on Saturday, 15 February 2020
A website The London Post ascribed the statement to Adityanath in a 2017 article.
In 2018, media portal Bolta Hindustan also claimed that the UP Chief Minister spoke of raping dead Muslim women.
Did Yogi Adityanath say corpses of Muslim women should be exhumed and raped?
To sum up the answer to this question in one word – No. However, it is important to understand why Adityanath’s name is frequently associated with the offensive statement.
Alt News had reported in March 2017 about Yogi Adityanath expressing disapproval for the idea of people from the Muslim and Hindu communities living together. He also said that the two cultures could not coexist. He had made these comments during a speech at the Virat Hindu Chetna Rally in 2007-08 when his supporters and Hindu Yuva Vahini activists also took to the stage to make abusive and objectionable remarks against Muslim women. At around the 3-minute mark in the video posted below, a man can be heard saying, “Now is the time to get their mothers and daughters out of graves and rape their children. This is the need of the hour, friends. And only the Hindu Yuva Vahini can do it.” Yogi Adityanath was on-stage when the statement was made by a co-speaker.
What were the offensive comments made by Yogi Adityanath and when?
In March 2017, BJP won the UP Assembly elections with a huge margin and Yogi Adityanath was handed the position of Chief Minister. Adityanath’s associated with a radical Hindutva school of thought and demands for the establishment of a Hindu nation are not unknown. At the time, a number of media outlets (Article 1, Article 2, Article 3) and journalists had questioned his selection as Chief Minister. Amidst these criticisms, several reports had covered the communal and objectionable speeches he had made in the past.
In one such speech, he said, “We have decided that if they capture one Hindu girl, then we will bring back at least 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, then we will also kill 100. Our response will be a hundred times worse than their act.” He made these comments while discussing cases of ‘love jihad’ in Uttar Pradesh. These comments are part of a documentary from 2011 and can be heard at the 56-minute mark onwards.
At another Hindu Virat Chetna rally, Adityanath said, “We are all preparing for a religious war. Only this religious war can fight Jihad. People say, ‘What was the point of creating the Hindu Vahini?’ I say necessity. Hinduism is a different culture, Islam is a different culture, the two cannot coexist. Two cultures can never live together in harmony. A collision between both will happen, it will come eventually. And when two cultures cannot live together, the division of this country is inevitable, it simply must happen. This is a warning and that’s why we have organised this Hindu Chetna rally, which is being held in every region of Uttar Pradesh. Brothers, the Virat Hindu Chetna rally is not just about creating consciousness, it is about more than just awakening the Hindu consciousness. One of our workers rightly said, ‘This is also a rally to warn Hindus.’ If you want to save the country, then create this kind of emotion inside this country, create conditions to organise Hindus. Take steps that will bring together different strands of the Hindu society into one thread. Aggressively do things that will execute our vision. That is why we created the Hindu Vahini.”
While it wasn’t Yogi Adityanath who made the statement about raping dead bodies of Muslim women, an activist of the Hindu Yuva Vahini made the remark in his presence. Adityanath did not object to the speech. We were unable to find any reports of legal action taken against the activist. It is noteworthy that the founder of the Hindu Yuva Vahini is Yogi Adityanath himself.
To sum it up, Abhijeet Banerjee’s claim that Yogi Adityanath spoke of raping women of the Muslim community is incorrect. The objectionable remarks were in fact made by a worker of his organisation in his presence.