Yesterday parts of Northern India were seeped in violence in lieu of Dalit protests against the recent Supreme Court order which sought to curb the possible misuse of Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. This protest has resulted in at least nine deaths and saw protesters resorting to measures like firing gunshots, pelting stones and large scale arson.
While the protest was on full flow, social media became rife with speculation about the protests being a fixed match, with a picture claiming that the same person being part of both anti-Padmavaat protests by the Karni Sena and the current Dalit protests:
It’s an easy switch from being an ‘angry Thakur’ (Karni Sena activist) to an ‘oppressed Dalit’. This picture should serve to expose the ‘hand’ behind Monday’s riots and why @RahulGandhi has complimented the rioters.
(Unless proven otherwise, it is the same rioter.) pic.twitter.com/GA5VBlWzfI
— Kanchan Gupta (@KanchanGupta) April 2, 2018
With both the aforementioned protests being across caste lines, it was assumed that Rajputs were part of the Karni Sena protests and Dalits were part of this pro SC/ST act protests. But the possibility of there being a common protester, gives rise to the possibility of “mercenaries” being brought in to fuel the said destabilising protests, which might also raise questions about the whole affair being politically motivated.
This angle was wholeheartedly taken up by various Twitter users:
Pic 1: As a Rajput protester, participating in the Karni Sena rally protesting against the film Padmavati.
Pic 2: SAME GUY, as an SC/ST protester, participating in the #BharatBandh
— Priti Gandhi (@MrsGandhi) April 2, 2018
Dear fellow citizens, EVERYTHING is planned by political masters !!
A man ties saffron n becomes a part of karni sena and SAME MAN ties a blue n becomes a part of Bheem sena…Strange but true !
Don’t get USED by these selfish & power hungry political masters #BharatBandhpic.twitter.com/HBUbNZRa5r
— Maj Surendra Poonia (@MajorPoonia) April 2, 2018
A BJP MLA from Gujarat alleged that the protester was a plant by the Congress party:
*Karni Sena rioter during Rajputs agitation*
*Bhim Sena rioter during Dalits agitation*.
Well done Congress, led by Rahul Gandhi.
સમજદાર ને ઈશારો કાફી છે.
— Harsh Sanghavi (@sanghaviharsh) April 2, 2018
Apart from Kanchan Gupta, another journalist too picked up this story and demanded that it be investigated:
फ़िल्म पद्मावत के विरोध में करणी सेना का सिपाही बना ये युवक दलितों के भारत बंद का भी प्रदर्शनकारी बना दिख रहा है. सोशल मीडिया पर ये तस्वीर वायरल है. अगर से सच है तो ये बहुत गंभीर मामला है. इसकी जांच होनी चाहिए. pic.twitter.com/qkSxlZRKBi
— Anuraag Muskaan (@anuraagmuskaan) April 2, 2018
Prima Facie the two facial identities do appear to be strikingly similar, but only a thorough forensic investigation would reveal the truth. If indeed future investigations reveal that the youths in question are the same person, then it might open up the possibility of the protests being being a political conspiracy, if indeed there is one.