The passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act has exposed the deep faultlines within Indian society. The anti-Hindu bigotry and Islamic Supremacy that was evident in all the anti-CAA protests have opened a can of worms. Now, it appears that the anti-CAA crowd has progressed from chanting hateful slogans to targeting people in vulnerable locations for their support towards the CAA. Vyas Vishwanathan, a Doctor by profession, was doxxed, accused of being genocidal without any proper evidence and ultimately forced to resign from the hospital he worked in at Palakkad, Kerala.
On the 20th of January, he was given 24 hours within which to submit his resignation and vacate his room. And Dr Vishwanathan had to endure the entire ordeal only because he supported the CAA on social media and voiced his support for measures to throw out illegal immigrants out of the country.
It all began on the 19th of January when a Twitter handle @yehlog published personal details of Dr Vishwanathan online with the primary intention of damaging his reputation and his career prospects. She accused him of being a ‘religious fanatic’ who wants to ‘kick out Muslims’ from the country.
Soon, people started registering their complaints with the hospital. It was claimed that Dr Vishwanathan was calling for genocide against Muslims on social media. “Please confirm if you share the same views as this employee,” the hospital was told. It was also suggested that the doctor might have caused harm to Muslim patients under his care.
The Hospital did not make much of an effort to defend its employee. The brand new hospital appears to have been overly keen on avoiding any controversy. Thus, the hospital demanded that Dr Vishwanathan submit his resignation and pack his bags. Ironically, Palakkad is the doctor’s ancestral place of residency and there was significant excitement as the entire family looked forward to him returning to the place from where, several generations previously, their ancestors had moved out from. Unfortunately, his return to Palakkad was short-lived and he had to leave in a rather unceremonious manner.
Dr Vishwanathan says that he has no hatred for Muslims at all, he just doesn’t want illegal immigration into the country and wants them deported. On previous occasions, he has supported Muslims during controversies as is evident from its tweets. For instance, during the whole Zomato controversy, he said that it was wrong to discriminate against a delivery boy on the basis of his religion. However, that hasn’t stopped people from accusing him of being a genocidal maniac.
People of a particular political and religious are celebrating Dr Vishwanathan’s dismissal on social media and are overjoyed by the manner in which his career has been damaged. OpIndia got in touch with him over the matter. He told us that right now, he has not given much thought about how to proceed. He told us that legal processes in the country takes years to complete and it isn’t something he is looking forward to. So, as of now, he has no intentions of pursuing any legal options although he is receiving advice from well-wishers that he should.
With respect to his career, Dr Vishwanathan told us that he has an exam coming up in the first week of March and for now, he is choosing to focus entirely on getting through it. As for his job prospects, he told us that well-wishers have contacted him and offered to help him with his efforts in finding a new job. But for now, it’s only the exam that he is concerned about. Dr Vishwanathan also informed us that there was a possibility that some people were organizing themselves and targeting politically opinionated doctors. On social media, he said that he may not be the first victim and he may not be the last.
On the 15th of January, Dr Ranjit Vijayahari, an activist with Seva Bharati who runs a Gastro clinic at Trivandrum, again in Kerala, said on social media that certain radical elements were targeting his practice due to his support for the CAA.
In one of the screenshots that were shared by Dr Vijayahari, one Umarool Farooq can be seen saying that a ‘communal doctor’ will not be able to empathize with his patients. Another person from the same community, Ali Afsal, asks people to ‘take care’ when they visit his clinic.
There appears to be a concerted attempt underway to target people for their support towards CAA and NRC. It appears that radical individuals of a particular religious and political orientation are targeting doctors now in an attempt to force people to submit to their will. The tactics they have resorted to could have terrible consequences for the social fabric of the country as such tactics would cause further deterioration of interfaith relationships.
During the anti-CAA protests, we have witnessed a constant barrage of propaganda and imagery that specifically targets Hindu religious sentiments. Considering the fact that these protests have failed spectacularly in swaying the mood of the public and the government, it appears that the more radical elements among them are moving on to more desperate measures.