The Chhattisgarh Police arrested Kalicharan Maharaj aka Abhijit Dhananjay Sarag, who made controversial remarks on Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation of India. Kalicharan had glorified Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse by using abusive words on Mahatma Gandhi in the Parliament of Religions held in Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh. After which the video of Kalicharan abusing Mahatma Gandhi and glorifying Godse started going viral on social media. The controversy started after this video
Criticizing Kalicharan, users on social media started demanding his arrest. People appealed to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to take action in this matter. After catching the heat of this entire controversy, Chhattisgarh Police registered a case against Kalicharan under various sections and started raids for arrest. On Thursday, the police arrested Kalicharan from Khajuraho in Madhya Pradesh.
After the arrest of Kalicharan by the Chhattisgarh Police, once again a controversy started on social media. Social media users associated with right-wing ideology protested the arrest of Kalicharan, demanding his release. During this, these users ran many hashtags. The most prominent hashtag was #ReleaseKalicharanMaharaj, which was trending top on Twitter. Many verified users made several consecutive posts to make this tweeter trend.
Many users resorted to hate during this time and tried to give a Hindu-Muslim angle on this issue as well. In this analysis, we will examine and analyze all the agenda, propaganda, and misleading facts on social media regarding Kalicharan.
Claim Number One
Many users on social media are opposing the arrest of Kalicharan, calling it a violation of “Freedom of Speech”. Many users wrote that the Indian Constitution gives freedom to all citizens to express their views. Kalicharan Maharaj also has the freedom to express his views. Therefore, constitutional and legal rights should not be selective but should be the same for all.
— Ajesh Padmanabhan 🇮🇳 (@ajeshpindia) December 30, 2021
We got in touch with law expert Kumar Aniket when social media users talked about freedom of expression. Aniket said that there is a provision for freedom of expression under Article 19-1 (a) in the Constitution, which gives freedom to any citizen to express his opinion in a democracy. Its meaning includes the right to freedom of thought, the right to know, and freedom of the press. But abusing someone does not come under the category of freedom of expression but a crime. Because by abusing you are defaming or insulting a person. There is a Provision to prohibit such activities.
claim number two
A user named Anirban Niyogi posted on social media justifying the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi using the hashtag #ReleaseKalicharanMaharaj. He shared a poster claiming that it was very important to kill Gandhi. He wrote in this poster that – “Gandhi’s killing was very important. There was a plan of a 20 km wide route from West Pakistan to East Pakistan (Bangladesh). Nathuram assassinated Gandhi before he was going to Pakistan in 1948 to complete the work of this plan. Gandhiji was going to fragment the country. Congress leaders have hidden a lot from the people of the country. Nathuram Godse saves the country from fragmentation.”
To know the truth of this claim, we did some keyword searches on Google. After which we got a fact check of DW News. According to this fact check, Mohammad Ali Jinnah had said in response to a question of a journalist of the news agency Reuters on May 22, 1947, about giving a corridor for East Pakistan and West Pakistan.
In June 1947, the British government urged Indians to show a big heart and give a corridor to Pakistan. Which was strongly opposed by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari on behalf of the Congress. At the same time, Nehru also rejected this demand of Jinnah outright. Apart from this, Mahatma Gandhi was nowhere in this entire conversation, nor did he ever make any statement about this corridor.
Use of hashtags:
The hashtag #ReleaseKalicharanMaharaj was tweeted after more than 37,000. Apart from this, many other hashtags were also going viral with this hashtag. In which #ArrestMaulanAsaad, #KalicharanMaharaj, #Kalicharan_Maharaj_K_hai_Hindu and #ISupportKalicharanMaharaj are included.
Here is a word cloud of words used by social media users on Twitter. Which shows the most often used words in tweets. These were mostly “Kalicharan Maharaj”, “Maulana Saad”, “Freedom of Expression”, “Release Maharaj”, “Gandhi”, “Demand Release” etc.
The bar graph below shows who the users were, who were tagged or mentioned in most of the tweets. Chhattisgarh CM @bhupeshbaghel was tagged the most in over 300 tweets. After this @TheDeepak2020In and @YogiDevnath2 were tagged around 250 and 225 times.
Users who started the hashtag
After the arrest of Kalicharan Maharaj, a campaign was launched on social media for his release. The campaign was first started by Chhattisgarh’s BJP MLA Brijmohan Agarwal. Journalist and columnist Adesh Rawat (@AadeshRawal) tweeted- “BJP MLA from Chhattisgarh Brijmohan Agarwal has used a hashtag to get Kalicharan free. These MLAs are the same ones who laughed at Atal Ji’s ashes. Therefore, it will be difficult to forgive them too !!”
छत्तीसगढ़ से बीजेपी विधायक बृजमोहन अग्रवाल
ने कालीचरण को छुड़वाने के लिए हाश्टैग चलाया है।ये विधायक वही हैं जो अटल जी की अस्थियों पर हंसे थे। इन्हें भी माफ़ करना मुश्किल हो जाएगा !!
— Aadesh Rawal (@AadeshRawal) December 30, 2021
We did some keyword searches on Google to check the veracity of Aadesh Rawat’s claims, and we found a DNA report. According to this report, Brijmohan was laughing at Agarwal in the tribute meeting of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Our readers can read the report by clicking on the link below.
Check out the accounts with the most tweets and replies:
@scn_subhash has tweeted over 270 times on this hashtag, followed by @ashishk612 and @waghela_vasant over 220 and 152 times respectively. Apart from this, a user named Sudhakar Singh Rajput (@SudhakarSinghS2) used the hashtag #ReleaseKalicharanMaharaj to claim that he has made more than 500 tweets and retweets and he will tweet and retweet 500 more. However, the same hashtag was used by him on posts on other topics.
Check out the accounts with the most tweets and replies:
@scn_subhash has tweeted over 270 times on this hashtag, followed by @ashishk612 and @waghela_vasant over 220 and 152 times respectively. Apart from this, a user named Sudhakar Singh Rajput (@SudhakarSinghS2) used the hashtag #ReleaseKalicharanMaharaj to claim that he has made more than 500 tweets and retweets. Further, he will tweet and retweet 500 more.
An analysis of hashtags and posts in support of Kalicharan Maharaj on social media shows that right-wing ideologues propagated and propagated fake news and false facts during this period. During this, they used fake news to justify the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, and also distorted the history. Moreover, our analysis, we found one more thing that on this matter. Along with using all the dirty tricks to fulfil their agenda full of hate, they made all the attempt to spread hatred in the name of Hindu-Muslim.
Apart ftrom this, Right-wing groups made offensive posters, memes, and photos of Mahatma Gandhi. They widely shared a cartoon photo, in which Kalicharan is pulling Mahatma Gandhi’s dhoti and Mahatma Gandhi was wearing a Islamic colored briefs. Those who shared the photo are claiming that Kalicharan exposed the hidden Islamic agenda of Mahatma Gandhi.
That is to say, people made many misleading claims on Maulana Saad, comedian Munawar Farooqui and Shahi Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, Ahmad Bukhari. Furthermore, these people full of hate made every effort to give a Hindu-Muslim angle to this matter.