Over 17,000 citizens write to ECI demanding action against PM Modi for ‘hate speech’

Modi in his speech claimed that Congress, if voted to power would redistribute the wealth among "infiltrators" and "those who have more children", referring to the Muslim community.

BySouth First Desk

Published Apr 23, 2024 | 12:31 PMUpdatedApr 23, 2024 | 12:31 PM

Modi at a rally in Banswara, Rajasthan (narendramodi.in)

Over 17,000 citizens wrote to the Election Commission of India seeking strict action against Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks against the Muslim community in his election rally in Rajasthan, on 21 April.

Led by two civil rights groups—Watan Ke Raha Mein and Samvidhan Bacchao Nagrik Abhiyan— over 17,000 citizens signed the letter that said, Modi’s speech is not only “appealing to ‘communal feelings’ but also instigating and aggravating hatred in the Hindus against Muslims.”

Modi in his speech claimed that Congress, if voted to power would redistribute the wealth among “infiltrators” and “those who have more children”, referring to the Muslim community while quoting Dr Manmohan Singh out of context.

Violation of MCC

Pointing to the violation of the Model Code of Conduct, which says: “No party or candidate shall include in any activity which may aggravate existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities, religious or linguistic,” the letter demanded action.

“There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, Churches, Temples or other places of worship shall not be used as a forum for election propaganda.”

The letter further invoked Section 123(3) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, which says, “If a candidate attempts to promote feelings of enmity or hatred among citizens on religion, race, caste, community or language grounds during elections, the person found guilty of corrupt electoral practice can be debarred from contesting elections for a maximum period of up to six years”

The letter further mentioned Modi’s speech in Rajasthan, and also the text of former PM Manmohan Singh’s speech.

Also Read: ‘Muslims, illegal migrants, people with more kids’: PM Modi’s communal remarks 

Modi’s speech

PM Modi on Sunday suggested that if the Congress comes to power, it would redistribute the wealth of the people to Muslims. Addressing a rally in Rajasthan’s Banswara, Modi alleged that the Congress plans to give people’s hard-earned money and valuables to “infiltrators” and “those who have more children”.

The prime minister elicited cheers at Sunday’s rally with that phrase and another term he used to obliquely refer to the community: Illegal migrants.

“Should your hard-earned money be given to illegal migrants, infiltrators? Is that acceptable to you?” he asked, eliciting more response from the audience.

Modi claimed that Muslims being given the first claim to India’s wealth was in the Congress manifesto.

“They will take stock of the gold of our women and give it away,” he claimed, adding: “The ideology of these Urban Naxals will take away even your mangalsutras.”

Modi further wrongly claimed, that his preceding government under the UPA had said, “Muslims had the first claim to India’s resources.”

Also Read: Those who want to destroy ‘Shakti’ will get destroyed, says PM Modi

What did Manmohan Singh say? 

Addressing the 52nd Meeting of the National Development Council in 2006, former prime minister Singh had said, “I believe our collective priorities are clear: agriculture, irrigation and water resources, health, education, critical investment in rural infrastructure, and the essential public investment needs of general infrastructure, along with programmes for the upliftment of SC/STs, other backward classes, minorities and women and children. The component plans for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will need to be revitalized. We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development. They must have the first claim on resources. The Centre has a myriad other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within the over-all resource availability.”

A day later, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) clarified that Singh’s observations had been “quoted out of context in some sections of the electronic media, fuelling a baseless controversy”.

The PMO noted in its statement of clarification: “It will be seen from the above that the prime minister’s reference to ‘first claim on resources’ refers to all the ‘priority’ areas listed above, including programmes for the upliftment of SCs, STs, OBCs, women and children, and minorities.”