Over Rs.10 Lakh Raised on Ketto for Kamlesh Tiwari: The Making of a Martyr
The treatment of Kamlesh Tiwari as a martyr reinforces the idea that Hindus are fighting against a system that keeps them downtrodden, that Hindus need rescuing, that the secular - no, ‘sickular’ - masses are trying to prise India from their weak, oppressed hands.
A fundraiser campaign, on the popular crowd-funding site, Ketto, has raised over Rs 10,00,000 to support the recently deceased controversial BJP Leader, Kamlesh Tiwari’s family.
Kamlesh Tiwari, leader of the Hindu Samaj Party, former Hindu Mahasabha leader and self-proclaimed working president of the Akhil Bharat Hindhu Mahasabha, was killed yesterday, inside his office in Lucknow.
Tiwari formed the Hindu Samaj Party, a fringe right wing group, in January 2017. Prior to this, in 2015, he made headlines when he made objectionable remarks against Prophet Muhammed. His remarks caused a huge uproar, and Muslims across India organised protests. He was also one of the appellants in the Supreme Court in the Ayodhya title suit case.
In connection with his murder, three people were detained in Gujarat, while two other Muslim Clerics from Bijnor were booked for conspiracy to murder. The clerics were named in a police complaint by the victim’s wife.
Two other people, the main accused in the case, are absconding at the time.
#WATCH OP Singh, UP DGP on #KamleshTiwariMurder: Prima facie this was a radical killing, these people were radicalized by the speech that he (Kamlesh Tiwari) gave in 2015, but much more can come out when we catch hold of the remaining criminals. pic.twitter.com/kJ19yoBLh5
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 19, 2019
The police have not issued any clarification on what exactly the connection is between the two arrested clerics, and the two main accused.
UP DGP, OP Singh on #KamleshTiwariMurder: In the initial interrogation no criminal background of the three people, who have been detained, has been established yet. If needed, we will take them into remand, bring them to UP & question them. pic.twitter.com/HdAdYOIGYS
— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) October 19, 2019
A few hours after his death, a fundraiser campaign cropped up on Ketto.
The brief about the fundraiser reads, “Kamlesh Tiwari was a 45 year old social reformer and the founder of Hindu Samaj Party (Lucknow). He was a kind soul who had focused on the welfare of others to the point of giving up his own material comforts and possessions for the cause.”
Detailing the murder, the fundraiser says, “He was murdered because he stood up for his right to free speech. He was murdered because he engaged with those who insulted dharma in the only way a civilized person would do: verbally rebut the insult. He has been murdered for daring to stand up.”
Furthermore, the campaign makes a case for his survivors: “He is survived by his wife and son, both of whom were part of Shri Tiwari’s social work. It will take a lot for the family to recuperate from the shock, and to get back on their feet again. The family will need all the support and help they can get to fight the cases legally, and to ensure dignity in their life without the breadwinner.”
The campaign, run by two people, named Ratnesh Mishra and Sachin Chitlangia, state that the beneficiary of funds will be Satyam Tiwari, Kamlesh Tiwari’s son.
In under 14 hours, crowdfunding movement has had over 747 supporters, who have donated a total sum of Rs 10,07,480 as we write this. People have donated sums across the board, but the Most Generous donations listed on the site are all in the range of 200 - 300 USD.
Tiwari was, unequivocally, a far right campaigner of a ‘Hindutva’ nationalism. In response to his comments in 2015, an FIR was lodged against him under IPC Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between groups on ground of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295-A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs).
He was subsequently arrested with the police invoking the National Security Act (NSA) against him. It was only in 2016 that the NSA order against him was quashed, by the Allahabad High Court.
A man who was indicted for inciting public animosity against a minority community, is now being lauded and praised across social media for being a ‘reformer’ - while his brutal murder is drowning out the problematic nature of his divisive politics.
Furthermore, it seems to be non-resident Indians who are most vocal in their support of this leader of what is at best, a fringe group.
There are also further issues with the Ketto campaign. The Ketto page itself has turned into a rallying point for Hindutva activism. It’s a stark reflection of a New India, where every possible platform is being used as an open mic stage to decry the oppression of the 98 crore strong Hindu majority population.
This oppression, mind you, exists in a nation that is still seeking justice for Pehlu Khan, for Tabrez Ansari, and all the others who have fallen victim to cow vigilante violence in India - all in the name of safeguarding the Hindu identity.
This is not to say that his wife and son should not be helped. When the sole breadwinner of a family is snatched too soon, the transition and living costs can be unbearable. Rs 10,00,000 is not an amount that will ever give them back a life, nor will it be sufficient to return them to status quo.
But the treatment of Kamlesh Tiwari as a martyr reinforces the idea that Hindus are fighting against a system that keeps them downtrodden, that Hindus need rescuing, that the secular - no, ‘sickular’ - masses are trying to prise India from their weak, oppressed hands.