Madhya Pradesh ATS recently arrested 11 Pakistani spies including an individual, who worked as an active member of the BJP’s IT cell. As expected, the news has seen Bharat Mata Ki Jai brigade desperately scurrying for shelter.
The arrest of Dhruv Saxena, who has reportedly been with the BJP’s IT Cell since last year, caused considerable social media outrage while the mainstream media, often accused of having mortgaged its freedom to the ruling right-wing party at the Centre, has remained silent.
But, on the other hand, an overwhelming majority of social media users and BJP’s detractors have been nimble-footed in highlighting the saffron party’s glaring hypocrisy on the subject of nationalism.
Congress’s Digvijay Singh’s tweet stating how none of the arrested 11 individuals on charges of waging war against the nation included a Muslim summed up the dominating theme of the prevalent outrage on the subject.
भोपाल में पकड़े गये आईएसआई के एेजेन्टों में एक भी मुसलमान नहीं उनमें से एक भाजपा का सदस्य। मोदी भक्तों कुछ सोचो। pic.twitter.com/bX0O0mVIJ5
— digvijaya singh (@digvijaya_28) February 10, 2017
And this perhaps can also be the reason why Indian channels and the usual suspects in the traditional media have not found the topic newsworthy enough to express their outrage. No channel, regional or national in any language, has found the topic worthy of a debate.
Media’s silence is also understandable given how a debate on Saxena’s arrest may cause considerable damage to the BJP’s poll prospects in the ongoing assembly elections.
A debate would also highlight the hypocrisy of the BJP and cause unending embarrassment to the party, whose leaders are often in the habit of distributing certificates on patriotism to their critics, particularly those belonging to minority community. News channels know it only too well that this has the capacity to sink the BJP’s boat in the all-important Uttar Pradesh, where the party has thrown all its might to replicate its performance of 2014.
It’s, therefore, quite a risky proposition to annoy BJP in the election season as the decision could backfire and result in withdrawal of ad revenue promised by the BJP, which currently seems to be the richest amongst all other political parties in India.
Rashtriya Janata Dal MP, Misa Bharti tweeted that the arrest of Saxena conclusively proved that the party, which worked as ‘agent for British’ before India’s independence was now working as an ‘agent of Pakistan’ post 1947.
— Dr. Misa Bharti (@MisaBharti) February 10, 2017
Many on Twitter and Facebook also poked fun at those journalists, who are never tired of pretending of being the sole flag-bearers of nationalism in India. All these right-wing activists, working in the guise of journalists, too have chosen to remain silent. For them, it seems, the silence is the most powerful scream.
Nationalism has become a hugely contentious issue since Narendra Modi assumed power in Delhi on 26 May, 2014. Anyone remotely critical of the central government’s policies is declared anti-national by BJP folks with critics bearing a Muslim name (like yours truly) gets additional honour of being a jihadi too.
Not too long ago, noted writer and Sahitya Akademi award winner, Ashok Vajpayee, expressed similar sentiments.
Speaking at an event in Delhi, Vajpayee said, “Those who don’t agree with the government’s policies are being called anti-nationals and traitors. If a democracy doesn’t respect dissenters, then who will?”
Controversies surrounding Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan amply illustrated just how far the ruling party and right-wing groups sympathetic to its ideologies would go to harass individuals int he garb of nationalism. It’s not just an allegation. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had publicly confessed on being aware of the concerted campaign launched by the members of his party’s IT Cell against Aamir Khan.
Although, BJP’s critics never had any doubt that the party’s claims on nationalism smacked of utter political opportunism, its supporters (popularly known as Bhakts) always appeared reluctant to make peace with this reality.
With BJP’s track record of harassing its critics both through sustained social media campaign (in the case of Aamir Khan and his removal from Snap Deal as its brand ambassador) and Shah Rukh Khan (through staged disruptions of the release of his film Dilwale), it’s not surprising why social media users have begun asking, ‘what if the arrested individuals were Muslims?’
The IT Cell member’s involvement in spying for Pakistan has exposed both the BJP and the TV news channels, yet again. Channels’ credibility is once again under the scanner, but it will further alienate the news consuming public from their agenda driven journalism.
Do read some of the social media comments below;
Good point. Why is the media silent about the alleged ISI spy who was high-up in the BJP IT cell? Is India's security an unimportant story? https://t.co/cVs4QT8c4J
— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) February 11, 2017
Bhakht from BJP IT cell who used to distribute certificate of nationalism is now booked for being an alleged ISI agent ! #बिक_गई_है_Gormint
— Priyanka Gandhi (@WithPGV) February 11, 2017
— Saikat Datta (@saikatd) February 11, 2017
BJP IT Cell members are being arrested for spying. Shameful ! These young men should be awarded under Skill India for boosting BPO sector.
— Rafale Gandhi (@RoflGandhi_) February 11, 2017
BJP IT cell member? You mean the same folks who dish out patriotism certificates to others? pic.twitter.com/zPWNWMdqY0
— SamSays (@samjawed65) February 10, 2017