A rally of men can be seen marching through Kozhikode's Kuttiyadi town, ostensibly attempting to garner support for the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act. Several saffron flags with the BJP's lotus stick out from the crowd. However, on listening in closer, the protesters are hardly chanting pro-CAA slogans. Instead, they can be heard raising open and violent threats to Muslims.
"Don't forget Gujarat. Keep that in mind before you play," the protesters can be heard shouting in unison.
The communal slogans refer to the Gujarat riots which killed nearly 800 Muslims, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi served as the state's Chief Minister in 2002.
The incident took place during a 'Save the country' public meet organised by the BJP in Kozhikode at 5 pm on Monday. Several videos of the rally have been posted on social media since. TNM heard the slogans being raised in the videos and most of them cannot be written about.
"Remember Gujarat? Remember it before you take us on" - menacing slogans at the pro-CAA/NRC march by the BJP on Monday at Kuttiady, Kozhikode (Kerala) according to reports. This is the real face of the RSS-BJP, no matter how much they try to whitewash it. pic.twitter.com/dMYUA7h2qg— Subin Dennis (@subindennis) January 14, 2020
According to reports on local media, the communal slogans were raised by the BJP protesters after several shops keepers in the neighbourhood shut down their businesses to boycott the meet organised by BJP to rally support for the CAA. The meet was to be inaugurated by state BJP General Secretary MT Ramesh.
“Shopkeeper and auto drivers in the neighbourhood boycotted the public meet, following which the sloganeering turned communal. However, no violence or clashes was reported during the entire rally,” CI of Kuttiyadi Police station confirmed to TNM
Following the incident, the Kuttiyadi police have registered a case against the rally's participants under sections 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly), 147 (punishment for rioting) and 153 (Wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot) of the IPC.
"The case has been registered against the entire rally. We are yet to identify the persons involved in the incident and arrest them," an officer from the Kuttiyadi Police Station told TNM.
Reacting to the incident, Kerala's Finance Minister Thomas Isaac wrote, "I am not surprised by the slogans raised by the BJP workers in Kuttiyadi. It is the Islamophobia that has seeped into the blood of Narendra Modi and a common BJP supporter that was on display there. How long can they camouflage this? On the one hand, BJP is holding door-to-door campaigns and public rallies in the name of comforting Muslims, on the other they issue threats to Muslims asking them if they remember Gujarat," Thomas Isaac wrote on his Facebook page.
"Nobody has forgotten Gujarat. We don't intend to forget it and we will constantly remind people about it. That memory (Gujarat riots) is our greatest weapon to destroy the BJP's communal agenda," he wrote.