A group opposing Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to United Kingdom has come out with a statement on its activities after it was criticized for distorting the sacred Hindu symbol “Om” into a Nazi symbol to show Modi as a fascist leader.
The group, calling itself Awaaz Network, has reiterated in its statement that Modi is a leader following fascist policies, but has offered no apology for distorting the “Om” symbol.
Earlier on Sunday this week, the group had claimed to project an image showing Narendra Modi with a sword onto the Palace of Westminster (part of UK Parliament) in London and distorted “Om” to look like the Nazi Swastika.
While calling or depicting Modi as a fascist violent man is hardly new or controversial among the group of people believing themselves to be liberals in India, the distortion of “Om” was surprisingly called objectionable by some of them.
Among others, the objection was registered from former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who has been rather toeing a hard-line stance since his electoral defeat and even a left-leaning blog such as Scroll published an article calling it offensive.
To use religious symbology to politically oppose PM Modi, whether in London or anywhere else is wrong & insulting to Hindus everywhere.
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) November 9, 2015
Needless to say, many Hindus, regardless of their political leanings, too protested the distortion of “Om”. However, such objections and protests seem to have had no effect on the group, which didn’t offer any apology, or even regret, for its act.
In fact, in its statement, the group brazenly declared that “the image was chosen carefully and deliberately” and tried to reason that since Hindutva groups like RSS use Hindu symbols, they too were justified in doing it.
The statement by the group further makes the allegation that Mahatma Gandhi was murdered by an RSS member. This is factually incorrect as Nathuram Godse had left RSS accusing it of not being militant enough and had formed his own organization.
While RSS is known to allow defamation and misrepresentations against itself, this is one of those occasions when a group has decided not to care about allegations of defamation to a Hindu sacred symbol and insulting Hindu sentiments.
We at OpIndia.com believe that this act could well be protected under free speech laws (though a similar distortion of Islamic symbols can attract criminal case under IPC 295A in India) and we are not demanding any action against the anti-Modi group in India or in UK, but this act has to be highlighted as it comes at a time when anti-Modi groups are accusing Hindus of “growing intolerance”.
The agenda appears to provoke, and then claim intolerance when a person falls for the provocation.