Earlier yesterday, the Magsaysay award-winning journalist Ravish Kumar yet again indulged in what he has come to be associated with through his brand of journalism: Duplicity. While hosting the prime time show on NDTV India, Kumar went into raptures for BKU leader Rakesh Tikait, ballyhooing him as a farmer leader who was trying to mend the strained relationship between Hindus and Muslims, years after casting him as a prime accused of inciting Hindu-Muslims riots that took place in Muzaffarnagar in 2013.
Ravish Kumar hails rabble rouser Rakesh Tikait for forging Hindu Muslim unity
Kumar hailed rabble-rouser Rakesh Tikait as a crusader of sorts dedicated to forging Hindu-Muslim unity that he claimed had come under severe strain since 2014, the low-key reference to BJP government at the Centre unmistakable.
“The Prime Minister does not seem inclined to meet Rakesh Tikait and other farmer leaders to hear out their grievances whereas he personally calls athletes and congratulate them for their performances in sporting events,” grumbled Kumar during his monologue. “Perhaps, instead of wasting their time demonstrating, they should participate in sports Kabaddi, Wrestling and other sports to attract his attention.”
“Since 2014, the communal harmony between Hindus and Muslims have been vitiated. Leaders like Rakesh Tikait and other farmer leaders are forging Hindu-Muslim unity through farmer protests. The Prime Minister should devote his time meeting them and placate their concerns,” Kumar pontificated.
Rakesh Tikait inflamed passions that led to riots in Muzaffarnagar: Ravish Kumar in 2013
This was in stark contrast to Kumar’s convictions back in 2013 when he had launched broadsides against Tikait and accused of him inflaming communal tensions with his inflammatory speeches.
In September 2013, Kumar had accused Tikait and BJP of inciting Hindu-Muslim riots to destabilise the then Akhilesh Yadav government in Uttar Pradesh.
“There was a meeting organised in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar that seems to have stoked tensions in the region. What was discussed in the meeting was not made public but the police said they had filed FIR against 4 BJP leaders, two BKU leaders, Rakesh Tikait and Narendra Tikait, and a Congress leader for nahin inflammatory speeches,” he said.
Bhaand Ravish kumar praising Rakesh tikait nowadays for spreading communal harmony but in 2013 he blamed tikait for Muzaffarnagar riots. pic.twitter.com/GU7qoK9Akp— Atul Ahuja (@atulahuja_) September 7, 2021
The mere presence of BKU leaders, Kumar stressed, meant that the objective of the meeting was not just provoking people by playing on their fears but much more sinister. However, it did not enunciate in definite words what those motivations may be.
Nevertheless, Kumar’s diatribes from 2013 indicated that he held Rakesh Tikait as one of the individuals who were responsible for sowing the seeds of Hindu-Muslim riots that ensued in the aftermath of the Muzaffarnagar meeting.
Now, years later, Kumar is bending over backwards in his attempts to portray Rakesh Tikait as a valiant leader trying to safeguard the secular fabric of the country by fostering Hindu-Muslim unity. Either his assessment of Tikait from 2013 was profoundly wrong when he accused him of driving a wedge between different communities or his current evaluation of Tikait as a paragon of Hindu-Muslim unity is mistaken.
Left-liberal treachery of co-opting unscrupulous individuals to further their propaganda
On the surface, the sudden change in heart of Kumar is rather inexplicable, perhaps even baffling. However, on careful scrutiny, it sheds light on the pernicious modus operandi employed by the left-leaning liberals and journalists—using every available means to discredit the central government and engender resentment among people against them.
In their pursuit to attack the Centre, these bunch of people who sympathise with the Congress ideology, have no qualms in co-opting and legitimising unscrupulous individuals with questionable antecedents. In this case, since Tikait is protesting against the Centre, the already battered left-leaning intellectual class saw in him a natural ally and a ray of hope who could help them in realising their forlorn desire of undermining the Modi government.
The fact that Tikait was accused of hacking away at the Hindu-Muslim unity was an inconsequential detail that needed to be overlooked so that he could be painted as a victim of the Centre’s insensitivity. So, the entire left-leaning media, went into overdrive to glorify him and deride the government for not being considerate enough to address his concerns. Kumar’s attempt to lionise Rakesh Tikait as a leader committed to restoring Hindu-Muslim unity and sweeping under the rug his past deeds seems to be the latest trick out of this left-liberal playbook.