Farmer leader and Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) spokesperson Rakesh Tikait addressed thousands of farmers gathered in Muzzafarnagar for a ‘Kisan Mahapanchayat’ against the centre’s farm laws on Sunday. A portion of Tikait’s speech from the rally, where he can be heard saying ‘Allah hu Akbar’, has been shared by BJP members and supporters in an attempt to portray that Tikait resorted to Muslim appeasement in the garb of farmers’ protest.

“He is fighting for Uttar Pradesh elections,” claimed BJP Delhi spokesperson Nighat Abbass.

BJP member Priti Gandhi shared Tikait’s video.

Shefali Vaidya went to the extent of drawing parallels between Tikait and the Taliban. She reshared BJP Delhi spokesperson Ajay Sehrawat’s tweet warning the Jat community. It must be pointed out that ‘Allah hu Akbar’ means ‘God is greatest’.

Several other Twitter accounts that drew hundreds of likes and retweets for the claim were @AMIT_GUJJU, @idesibanda, @erbmjha, @seriousfunnyguy, @socialtamasha, @soulefacts, @pujatiwariBJP, @Sachi_Sandhna and @atulahuja_.

Video shared with a misleading narrative

“They [PM Modi and UP CM Yogi Adityanath] will work to divide, we will work to unite. We vow that even if our graves are dug, we will not quit the protest. We will continue even if we become martyrs. We will not return without winning,” said Tikait amid chants of ‘Bole So Nihal…Sat Sri Akal’.

He continued, “If the country is led by such governments, they will continue to incite riots. Slogans were chanted in the past as well during Tikait Sahab’s time [referring to his father and former BKU president Mahendra Singh Tikait]. ‘Allah hu Akbar’ (crowd chants ‘Har Har Mahadev’) ‘Allah hu Akbar’ (crowd chants ‘Har Har Mahadev’). These chants used to be raised – ‘Allah hu Akbar’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’ – on this land and will continue to be raised. Riots will not take place here. They will work to divide, we will work to unite.”

This part of the speech can be watched onward 10:36 minutes in the broadcast below.

The relevant portion was also shared on social media.

Several people pointed out that Rakesh Tikait said that the farmers’ movement since the time of Mahendra Singh Tikait has used both the slogans as a sign of religious harmony.

The mere utterance of ‘Allah hu Akbar’, which means ‘God is greatest’, led to misleading claims that Rakesh Tikait was resorting to Muslim appeasement. Shefali Vaidya compared him to the Taliban.

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About the Author

Pooja Chaudhuri is a senior editor at Alt News.