Ahmedabad blasts: Cartoon of hanging Muslims condemned and removed from Twitter

India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party shared the image after a court handed the death penalty to 38 people in connection with 2008 serial blasts in Ahmedabad

Sravasti Dasgupta
Monday 21 February 2022 11:24 GMT
<p>(Representative) Twitter removed an offensive post by India’s ruling BJP that showed Muslim men being hung on a noose </p>

(Representative) Twitter removed an offensive post by India’s ruling BJP that showed Muslim men being hung on a noose

Twitter removed a cartoon posted by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) that showed Muslim men in skull caps being hung by a noose after uproar on social media.

The cartoon was shared by the official handle of the party’s Gujarat division on Saturday after a court in Ahmedabad sentenced 38 people to death in relation to the 2008 serial blasts case which had killed 56 people.

The serial blasts went off in multiple locations in Ahmedabad and were planned to allegedly avenge the 2002 post Godhra riots in the state.

The tweet showed a caricature of men in skull caps being hung on a noose, while the background showed the Indian flag, the scene of the blasts along with the text: “Satyameva Jayate” or truth will triumph, which is India’s national motto.

It also said: “No mercy to the perpetrators of terror.”

The cartoon led to an uproar on social media, with users, social activists and opposition politicians calling out the ruling party for dehumanising Muslims.

On Sunday, the post was removed by Twitter for “violating” its guidelines.

However, through Sunday users on social media said that while the post was taken down, the cartoon continued to be shared on social media.

Users said that the cartoon was being shared on Monday morning on both Facebook and Instagram.

Several users who had reported the post on Facebook and Instagram said that they had been informed by the platform that the post would not be removed as it did not violate any community guidelines, reported Boom Live.

Amid the uproar, BJP’s Gujarat unit spokesperson Rutvij Patel said that the image had only reflected actual photographs of the convicts.

“The sketch was based on real photographs of the convicts published by newspapers a day after the verdict. The Gujarat BJP or its social media team had no intention to target any particular religion or community through the sketch,” he was quoted as saying to news agency Press Trust of India.

He added that when Osama Bin Laden was killed, his sketch too was published in the US.

“Our sketch was just an artistic expression shared on social media, nothing else,” Mr Patel said.

Opposition Congress’ Gujarat unit spokesperson welcomed Twitter’s move to take down the post.

“We firmly believe that terrorism has no religion. The Congress had lost two if its leaders - Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi (former Indian prime ministers) - fighting terrorism. The verdicts of courts must not be seen through a political prism,” he said.

The Gujarat BJP’s tweet came just days after the party’s Karnataka division tweeted the names and addresses of some of the girls who have moved court seeking permission to wear hijabs in schools and colleges.

Last year, police visited Twitter’s offices in capital Delhi after the platform flagged a post by a member of the BJP as ‘manipulated media’, leading to public outcry.

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