It might seem easy to brush off extremist left-wing voices — NDTV, for instance, doesn’t feature in the top 5 English or Hindi channels, and readership for leftist publications is plummeting. But their audiences, however small, are ending up regularly being responsible for stoking communal hatred and violence.
Heer Khan, the YouTuber arrested from Uttar Pradesh for making objectionable remarks on Hindu gods and goddesses, had previously urged her followers to subscribe to left-wing journalists Ravish Kumar, Abhisar Sharma and Punya Prasun Bajpai.
“The three men you see here, Prasun Bajpai, Ravish Kumar and Abhisar Sharma, are speaking out for you. They are speaking out for secular Hindus. They are speaking out for secular Muslims, Sikhs and Christians. They are risking their lives to get the news to you. Please immediately go and subscribe to their channel,” Heer Khan had said.
While Heer Khan appears to hold “secular” values in high regard, her own actions would suggest otherwise. Today, a video of Heer Khan’s went viral, in which she had abused Goddess Sita and called her r*andi(sex worker), and referred to Ayodhya as a who*ehouse. She had also called Bhagwan Ram a son of r*andi (prostitute).
Following an online outrage, Heer Khan was arrested by UP Police, and is currently in custody. But this isn’t the first time that ties have emerged between religious bigots and left-leaning journalists like Ravish Kumar. Heer Khan was clearly a fan of Ravish Kumar’s, and even urged her followers to watch his videos. Just two months ago, one Khalid Saifi had been charged as one of the masterminds of the deadly Delhi riots. At that point, old pictures of him with prominent left-leaning journalists had emerged, among which a photo with Ravish Kumar was prominent. Previously, Lashkar-e-Tayeba cofounder Hafiz Saeed had praised left-leaning Barkha Dutt, and said that it was a good thing that journalists like her were operating in India.
It’s hard to tell if leftist dogwhistles are causing these people to carry out terror attacks and abuse Hindu gods, or they’re acting of their own free volition, but the links between communal violence in India and left wing journalism appear to be popping up with ever-greater frequency. India’s security forces would do well to keep an eye on the activities of left-wing journalists — their actions, whether intentionally or unintentionally, appear to be stoking hatred and riots in the country.