ICC Note: Last Friday, BJP Member of Parliament Gopal Shetty was filmed saying that Christians did not contribute to the Indian freedom struggle and that they were ‘angrez’, meaning British. This hateful statement against Christians drew quick reaction and MP Shetty was rebuked by many. Hate speech in India has dramatically risen under BJP rule. According to a study by NDTV, hate speech on the part of BJP leaders is up 500%.
07/09/2018 India (India Today) – Mumbai Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Gopal Shetty has stoked up a controversy by saying that Christians are ‘angrez’ (British) and did not contribute to the Indian freedom struggle.
Though the senior most city leader made the remarks last Sunday at an Eid Milan function in Malad suburb, videos of his speech surfaced only on Thursday and went viral.
Among other things, the Mumbai North MP said: “Christians were ‘angrez’, hence they didn’t join in the Indian freedom struggle. India was not freed by a Hindu or a Muslim, we fought as one for our Independence.”
Sharply criticizing Shetty, Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan said: “It reflects despicably communal mindset of the BJP. Freedom struggle is the epitome of sacrifices made by all communities including Christians. Shetty must know that only RSS was in support of the British.”
Condemning the “anti-minority remarks”, Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam demanded that Shetty must tender “an apology to the entire Christian community of India as he has no knowledge of history or the contribution of the Christians in the independence movement”.
On Friday, All India Mahila Congress General Secretary Janet Desouza and Mumbai Mahila Congress President Ajanta Yadav held a protest outside Shetty’s office in Borivali West.
Two Christian residents from Malad – Mavis Fernandes and Jerard Lobo – submitted a written complaint against Shetty to police in Malvani, demanding action against the MP for promoting enmity between communities.
For interviews with William Stark, ICC’s Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]