New Delhi: On Sunday, British newspaper The Independent withdrew an opinion piece authored by a Hindu on how she was increasingly witnessing racist persecution of Muslims around her. The withdrawal of the piece by the newspaper came after the author and her family allegedly received a slew of threats online.
Sunny Hundal, deputy editor of the newspaper’s opinion desk, took to Twitter to announce that the report was being taken down, even though no complaint against the piece were based on facts, but rather accusations that the author held a bias against Hindus.
He subsequently blamed the “Hindu nationalist BJP government” in India, claiming its anti-Muslim campaign also gets spread among the diaspora in UK.
“A week ago, we published an editorial on The Independent by a Hindu woman on the bigotry (against Muslims) she was increasingly see around her. After it was published, she immediately received threats and became worried for herself and family. We took the article down,” (SIC) Hundal said.
A week ago, we published an editorial on The Independent by a Hindu woman on the bigotry (against Muslims) she was increasingly see around her.
After it was published, she immediately received threats and became worried for herself & family.
We took the article down.
— Sunny Hundal (@sunny_hundal) August 28, 2022
The “Hindu nationalist BJP government” has been running a Facebook and WhatsApp campaign to “demonise” Muslims with false claims and the Indian government in turn assures Hindus that it is acting to protect them, he alleged.
“There is definitely a growing problem of bigotry against Muslims among Hindus. It’s spreading from India to the West,” he claimed.
ThePrint reached BJP spokesperson for foreign affairs Vijay Chauthaiwale over phone, but he declined to comment on the matter.
Hundal’s tweet received mixed reactions.
Some such as Turkish writer Mustafa Akyol agreed with Hundal’s claim about the growing problem, calling it a “rightful warning”.
"There is definitely a growing problem of bigotry against Muslims among Hindus. It's spreading from India to the West…"
A rightful warning: https://t.co/mhvSMLqrSs
— Mustafa Akyol (@AkyolinEnglish) August 29, 2022
Critics, meanwhile, argued that he approved an article that “tarnished the Hindu community” and then backpedaled by taking it down.
1st this man approves an article that literally tarnished the entire Hindu community. Then after the article faces legitimate criticism comes this entire saga. I don't approve of any attack on anyone. But I get abused on SM daily. That is not the point. The point is the article. https://t.co/vb556fvJeX
— कुशल मेहरा (@kushal_mehra) August 29, 2022
There were also questions as to why the opinion piece was taken down instead of being republished without a byline to protect the author.
Astonished that you took the article down. If security was a concern, it could have been republished without a byline & an explainer tagline.
— Leela Jacinto (@leelajacinto) August 29, 2022
Also read: Facebook research flagged ‘inflammatory content’ against Muslims in India, says WSJ probe
‘British Hindus in denial’
Hundal alleged that bigotry against Muslims is a growing problem, but one that British Hindus themselves are in “denial” about.
“No one is saying Hindus are more bigoted than others. But there is definitely a problem and denial of this problem. Over the years I’ve gotten threats from Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus for highlighting internal bigotry. I see it as part of the job, it shouldn’t be like this,” he said.
He also recalled frequently receiving direct messages from British Hindus “forwarding me some racist WhatsApp message (usually originating from India)” and asking how we can fight against it.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)
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