Controversial BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra has faced widespread condemnation for his distasteful tweet on a little baby sitting on the body of his lifeless Kashmiri grandfather, who was allegedly killed by the Indian security forces. From Bollywood personalities Dia Mirza and Vishal Dadlani to author Aatish Taseer, Patra has been condemned by all and sundry for his tweet mocking a human tragedy. Far from expressing any remorse for his despicable action, Patra has defended his social media post by invoking late Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor.
The original tweet of Patra had shared the photo of 65-year-old Bashir Ahmad Khan, who his family say was killed by the Indian security forces. The government has blamed militants for his death. In the photo shared by Patra, Khan’s grandson was seen sitting on the former’s dead body. While sharing the photo, Patra wrote, “PULITZER LOVERS ??” The controversial BJP spokesperson was seemingly taking a dig at Kashmiri AP photojournalists, who recently won the Pulitzer Prize for their groundbreaking photos capturing the human misery during the lockdown imposed by the Indian government in Jammu and Kashmir in the immediate aftermath of the abrogation of Article 370.
Khan’s family members have alleged that the security forces made the baby sit on the dead body of his grandfather. Reacting to Patra’s tweet, actress Dia Mirza asked, “Do you not have an iota of empathy left in you??”
Do you not have an iota of empathy left in you?? https://t.co/PJYT4uZZbj
— Dia Mirza (@deespeak) July 1, 2020
Music composer and Indian Idol judge Vishal Dadlani wrote asking Twitter to take action against the BJP spokesperson. He wrote, “Can @TwitterIndia and @Twitter take cognisance of the sensitive material in the attached tweet and the hateful reason for this post, and take action against this man?”
Also, can all right-thinking people with a sense of decency and empathy, please report his account? Thanks. https://t.co/MaXmF1SnDB
— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) July 1, 2020
Author Aatish Taseer wrote, “If a single tweet could capture the utter moral destitution that Modi has wrought in India, this is it. Here is his party spokesman glorying in the sight of a little boy with the body of his dead grandfather, killed in crossfire in Kashmir.”
If a single tweet could capture the utter moral destitution that Modi has wrought in India, this is it. Here is his party spokesman glorying in the sight of a little boy with the body of his dead grandfather, killed in crossfire in Kashmir. https://t.co/pzurkOipud
— Aatish Taseer (@AatishTaseer) July 1, 2020
Unaffected by widespread criticism, Patra slammed his critics and said that even late Rishi Kapoor would have stood by him had he been alive. Patra wrote audaciously, “I have taken on the Diyas & the Dadlanis today ..but in the same Bollywood I miss my friend
@chintskap ..had he been around He would have stood with me ..He always had …wherever you are RISHI my Folded handsFolded hands to you ..Miss you ..I know tonight you would surely have called me!!”
I have taken on the Diyas & the Dadlanis today ..but in the same Bollywood I miss my friend @chintskap ..had he been around He would have stood with me ..He always had …wherever you are RISHI my 🙏🙏 to you ..Miss you ..I know tonight you would surely have called me!!
— Sambit Patra (@sambitswaraj) July 1, 2020
Meanwhile, neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor any senior functionaries of the BJP have chosen to condemn Patra for his tweet. Ironically, Modi had recently asked Indians to stay indoors to fight the spread of coronavirus by asking children to engage with grandparents as part of their indoor activities. One wonders if he only meant non-Kashmiri grandparents.