Tangential retreat after Gadkari threatens to sue: From sarcasm to rhetoric of Islamophobia

Days after the Pune Police revealed that an incriminating piece of internal communication between the arrested suspected urban Maoists suggests an assassination plot for India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it has been raining conspiracy theories on the social media. Usual suspects, who scream ‘democracy in danger’ at the drop of a hat and see sinister ‘Hindutva terror’ each time somebody trolls them on Twitter, have scoffed at the idea, dismissing the claims of Pune Police as political agenda. Even though many journalists have been claiming to have received death threats on social media, they hypocritically dismissed and even rejoiced the Prime Minister’s life being in danger.

However, JNU activist and freelance protestor Shehla Rashid apparently took her opinions on the matter to much higher realms of imagination. She accused that Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, in collusion with RSS, is planning to assassinate the PM and then lynch Muslims after blaming them for it. (Disclaimer: any relation to a recent episode of Quantico is purely coincidental)

Shehla first dismissed the assassination plot as “bullshit“. Exactly 9 minutes later, she shared another tweet claiming that Union Minister Nitin Gadkari is planning to kill the PM with RSS.

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What she probably did not expect was that the Union Minister might actually react to it. Soon Gadkari tweeted hinting that he would be taking legal action on her.

The news spread like wildfire and Shehla Rashid was soon seen unravelling. She first claimed her tweet was only a sarcasm and even brought out the issue of Times Now journalist Rahul Shivshankar for leading a ‘baseless media assault’ on her fellow JNU “activist” Umar Khalid, who was charged with sedition after his involvement in an event to commemorate terrorist Afzal Guru.

Maybe Shehla has a point here. After all, Khalid was present in that Yalgaar Parishad event that led to the Bhima Koregaon violence, for which the police has taken the suspected Maoists into custody. There are no reports yet of Khalid being investigated by police for Maoist links, but since everyone is suggesting conspiracy theories, why not?

It is notable here that Umar Khalid’s father was a member of the banned jihadi outfit SIMI. She even claimed that Gadkari should take action against Shivshankar, not at all bothering to explain why. Since then, Shehla has been on a downward spiral, as media outlets keep thonging her, seeking her reactions to the possible lawsuit, she has now taken to blaming them for tampering with her statements.

In another surprising tangential retreat, from stating explicitly that Gadkari is planning to kill the PM, Shehla has now claimed that ‘nobody has claimed’ so. She completely denies that she has done anything like that and brings in Umar Khalid again, and with Umar Khalid, she brings in the universally acceptable business card of ‘Islamophobia’.

It is incomprehensible as to why Rashid would feel that Muslims are being victimised when the letter that contained the assassination plot was allegedly written by Maoists and the people who got arrested were suspected Maoists. It looks like arcane knowledge only liberal JNU scholars are privy to.

There already is a person in Delhi who is famous for his U-turns. Delhi’s absentee CM Arvind Kejriwal. Interestingly, Kejriwal also has vivid experience on how does a lawsuit from Gadkari works. He had recently sought written unconditional apology from Gadkari after failing to prove his stand in a defamation suit. It looks like Shehla is mastering the art of U-turns before learning the art of apologies, quite like Kejriwal.


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