‘Take action against BJP for hate video’: Karnataka civic groups urge ECI

According to reports, the police sent a notice to social media platform X on May 5, on the direction of the Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer, to remove the animated clip.
Election Commission of India
Election Commission of IndiaIANS
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Civic groups in Karnataka submitted a petition with the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday, May 6 asking the poll body to take action against the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party for posting an animated video on X, with anti-Muslim rhetoric to attack the Congress, alluding that the party is starving SC,ST and OBC members by providing funds to Muslims. 

Representatives from Bahutva Karnataka, All India Lawyers Association for Justice (AILAJ), Campaign Against Hate Speech (CAHS), All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA), Jagrutha Karnataka, All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), met the EC officials.

The video shows a nest with three eggs labelled ‘SC’, ‘ST’ and ‘OBC’, to which a caricature of Rahul Gandhi adds a larger egg labelled ‘Muslims’. The eggs hatch and the bird that emerges from the egg named ‘Muslim’ seems bigger than the others and wears a skull cap and has a beard. Rahul Gandhi is shown feeding the larger bird “funds” while all the others are left hungry. Eventually, the bird grows larger and eliminates others.

According to the complaint, this animated video is in violation of Section 123(3A) which prohibits attempts to promote feelings of enmity or hatred between different classes of the citizens of India on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or language and is a clear call for voting on the ground of religion. It adds that the video violates Model Code of Conduct for the Lok Sabha elections 2024 as contained in the Handbook for Candidates Edition 2023.

The compliant further said the video violates Sections 153(1)(a) (promoting enmity), 153(1)(b) (Imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 295A (deliberate acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 298 (Uttering words with deliberate intent to wound religious feelings). The complaint notes that the video showing SC and ST community being "kicked" by the Muslim would be a punishable offence under Section 3(L)(A) of SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act, 1989. This section states that if a person forces, intimidates or prevents a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe not to vote or to vote for a particular candidate or to vote in a manner other than that provided by law is liable to be punished.

“It is pertinent to note that the video has already received 7.7 million views, with 3,700 comments, 11,000 retweets, 18,000 likes and 2,200 bookmarks. The  impact of the video has been wide with severe ramifications, owing to the significant public influence wielded by the BJP4Karnataka social media handle,” the complaint reads.

According to reports, the police sent a notice to social media platform X on May 5, on the direction of the Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer, to remove the animated clip following a complaint from the Congress party. 

In connection with the video, Karnataka police have registered a case against BJP National President JP Nadda, social media in-charge Amit Malviya and Karnataka BJP President BY Vijayendra.

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