On November 16, News 18 Hindi held a debate on the issue of people being caught spitting on food. During the discussion, while Maulana Alimuddin Asadi tried to whitewash the acts of spitting on food, political analyst Masood Hashmi alleged that under PM Modi and CM Yogi, ‘only Muslims are being caught and harassed’.
In the past few months, several people have been arrested after videos of them spitting on food while cooking went viral. Incidentally, all the people who have been arrested belong to a particular community that is raising the question of whether there is something common among them that is pushing them to indulge in such acts. Delhi University Professor Sangeet Ragi, Maulana Alimuddin Asadi, Supreme Court Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, Hum Hindu founder Ajay Gautam and political analyst Masood Hashmi were the panellists in the News 18 debate.
‘This is faith’ claims Maulana Alimuddin Asadi about viral video
During the debate, Maulana Alimuddin Asadi pointed towards a particular video in which a group of Muslims are seen licking the utensils to clean the remaining food items. He alleged that this was about faith and it was not a crime. Ignoring the fact that the other videos that were shown during the debate clearly showed several cooks spitting on food while cooking or showed people spitting on fruit, bread, outside houses etc., Asadi kept praising those who were licking the utensils.
Asadi said, “We respect our elders and gurus and happily eat the leftover food from the plates. It is about faith, and there is nothing wrong with it. These people are from the Bohra community. Our religion teaches us not to waste food.”
When anchor Aman Chopra questioned him about the remaining videos and pointed out how he could say it was about faith, Asadi alleged Chopra was trying to twist his statement. A point came during the debate where he tried to deny that the fruit seller was spitting or licking the fruit that he was about to sell. He said, “He is cleaning the fruit and not licking it.”
Asadi talked about the roadside vendors who were caught on camera adding urine in Dahi Bhalle. He questioned why no action was taken against them. Asadi might be pointing out the viral video of a roadside vendor whose video had gone viral on social media platforms where he was seen adding urine in Panipuri water. The vendor, identified as 60-year-old Akrul Sahini, was arrested for the crime by Bharalumukh Police.
Notably, a similar incident was caught on camera in 2017 in Gujarat, where one Chetan Nanji Marvadi was seen adding urine in Panipuri water. He was sentenced to six months in jail. These incidents show that the allegations that one particular community is being vilified is false and it is about hygiene and health, not about communal hatred.
It is, in fact, being made communal when some people try to defend the acts linking them to faith.
‘Muslims are being targeted because of UP elections’
Asadi further alleged that Muslims are being targeted in the country because UP elections are coming. When Chopra asked if people should eat food that had been spat on by the vendors just because to maintain ‘harmony’ during UP elections, Asadi changed the tone and asked why the person was not targeted who was sprinkling ‘gaumutra’ on the food. We could not find a single report of any such incident. There were only a few fact-checks to bust the same ‘urban legend’ that is apparently popular among the western countries that Hindus sprinkle Gaumutra on their food.
‘Only Muslims arrested under Modi-Yogi raj’
Political analyst Masood Hashmi had a whole different defence on why only Muslims were being caught spitting on the food. Chopra asked Hashmi what could be the reason that nine people have been arrested in the past nine months for spitting on food, and all of them were Muslims. Hashmi, being the political analyst, brought politics into the matter and alleged under PM Modi and CM Yogi governments, only Muslims are arrested and harassed.
Those who have been arrested in these cases are Naushad, Anwar, Khalid, Shahrukh, Irshad, Chand Mohammad, Mohammad, and Abdul Salam. Hashmi further claimed that it has nothing to do with religion. Chopra asked him if there was anything common while pointing out the names, but Hashmi kept saying there was nothing common in those cases.
‘Hindus should have right to ask if the is Halal or Jhatka’
Professor Sangeet Ragi said, “If a Hindu is going to Kareem’s to eat chicken, he should have right to ask if the meat is Halal or Jhatka. Being a Hindu, I should have the right to eat Jhatka. Why Hindus should eat Halal food that is made while reciting Islamic verses?”
‘If Indian Muslims were not peaceful, India would not have existed’, says Hashmi
Masood Hashmi alleged people do not understand the meaning of Jihad. He said, “If Indian Muslims had not learnt to live peacefully, India would not have existed the way it exists.” He further questioned the identity of the people who had been caught. He said, “It is a matter of investigation to find if the people who were caught spitting on food were actually Muslims or not.”
He claimed Hinduism is inferior to Islam and said, “If Hinduism is so good, why people across the world are converting to Islam? Why are they not converting to Hinduism? There must be a reason they are leaning towards Islam.” To his comment, Ajay Gautam said, “If Islam was so good, on one side I would have Ram Singh, and on the other side I would have Ram Shukla. It was because of the atrocities of the Muslim invaders that people had to convert.”
Ashwini Upadhyay questioned Hashmi to explain the reason why countries like Iran, Syria and others are burning? Hashmi blamed Israeli Intelligence Agency Mosaad, American Intelligence Agency CIA and India’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for the unrest in the Muslim nations. He said, “It is because of agencies like Mosaad, CIA and RSS that the world is burning. You are behind the unrest.” He further said, “Those who watch Mahabharat and Ramayana are questioning Islam. Those who have Gods with countless weapons in their hands are questioning Islam. Look at yourself first, then question us.”
While several tweets by News18 on the debate are still available on their Twitter account, one particular Tweet where they pointed out that Asadi said it was about faith has been deleted.
It is notable here that some self-proclaimed ‘fact-checkers’ have even tried to defend the acts of spitting on food by claiming it is a ritual called “Fatiha jalana” and the viral videos are about ‘blowing air on food’ and not spitting.