Tejasvi Surya attempted to repeat what was done during the first wave of corona: Trying to find a scapegoat in order to distract from system failure. Last year, a group called Tablighi Jamaat was accused. Now, something similar has happened in Bengaluru.
For the shortage of hospital beds there, blame was shifted upon a particular community. He had played this communal card even before and so he thought to use it once again. However, this time, the trick did not succeed. Bengaluru did not fall for it again.
What was Tejasvi trying to achieve? Did he apologize because of public outrage? Finally, what can we do to stop this communal hatred?
On 29th April, an article on The Print claimed that Tejasvi was missing from Covid front. On the other hand, Srinivas BV of Indian Youth Congress was actively helping people on social media. Is it then a coincidence that news of his inaction forced Tejasvi to appear before camera?
On 4th May, a press conference was organized and bed blocking scam in Bengaluru was exposed by him. However, in a video, Tejasvi could be heard speaking the names of 16 Muslim out of 200 staffers and gave it a communal twist. His uncle Ravi Subramanya added: ‘Is this a madrasa?’
Why did he go by the surnames? Was bed scam driven by fundamentalist religious ideology? A similar thing happened last year, but this year, people have understood all the ways politicians and media use to distract them. Today, they want to ask questions to the system.
The 16 named were kept at the police station until the wee hours of May 5. Furthermore, their phone numbers were leaked on social media and the abuses came pouring in.
But a larger group of people started to wonder that why only 16 were called out of 200 staffers? And who made and printed the list in the first place? The civic society demanded an FIR on Surya under section 153A, 295A and 505(2).
Then, being a smart politician, Tejasvi decided to apologize. He said, ‘I just read out list given to me.’ Perhaps someone took advantage of his innocence.
Finally, he went to the war room also. The staffers, however, pulled off a sting operation and recorded everything. Tejasvi is heard saying: ‘I am really sorry. It was not my intention. Change your numbers or switch off your mobile phones. You will be given first dose and I will take it with you.’
Now, those 16 suspended workers have been reinstated by BBMP. But, 5 have refused to return. They feel ‘targeted’.
Now, in such a case, opposition should be bold and clear in its stance. But, here, Shashi Tharoor of opposition tweets: ‘Tejasvi is smart, passionate. I urge him to avoid this behavior.’
Actor Siddharth Suryanarayan, however, made a courageous remark on Twitter. If instances such as this one in Bengaluru have to be avoided across the country one must name names and call a spade a spade.
We have been shutting our eyes to our friends and family’s ignorant and backward thinking but it is about time to start talking about it, to stop it once and for all. We must not let hate bloom in our close circles. It is on us.