Soon after Congress leader Salman Khurshid came under fire for equating Hindutva with the ISIS, his party colleague, senior Congress leader Rashid Alvi was also dragged into the muck, for allegedly making anti-Hindu comments. Many Twitter users took to the social media platform to share a 10 second video clip where Alvi can be heard saying “Those who raise the chant of Jai Shri Ram are not saints (muni), but demons (nishachar). You have to be careful.” A quick fact check by Newschecker has found that the video is being quoted out of context and is misleading.
Archived copy of Amit Malviya’s tweet.
‘Those Saying Jai Shri Ram Are Demons’
Senior BJP leader and the party’s IT-Cell in charge, Amit Malviya was among those who tweeted a smaller portion of the longer video, writing “After Salman Khurshid, now Congress leader Rashid Alvi is saying those who say Jai Shri Ram are demons. How much poison is mixed in the thoughts of the Congress towards the devotees of Ram.” Malviya’s tweet had over 1,000 retweets and over 2,000 likes. BJP’s IT-In charge for Haryana, Arun Yadav also tweeted the same video with the same caption.
Archived copy of Arun Yadav’s tweet.
Other Twitter users also shared the same video with the same claim.
Archived copy of Amish Devgan’s tweet.
Senior journalist Amish Devgan was among those who tweeted the video, claiming that Alvi had called those chanting Jai Shri Ram are demons. The video has over 800 retweets and over 1,700 likes. Rohit Ranjan of Zee Hindustan also made the same claim, tweeting only a text, and no videos.
Archived copy of Rohit Ranjan’s tweet
A keyword search on Google showed a Navbharat Times article which reveals that the Congress leader was speaking at an event in Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal.
A keyword search on YouTube showed a slightly longer version of the video clip of Rashid Alvi speaking in the event.
The video, uploaded by Mojo News India on November 12, 2021, is about 6 minutes long, where Alvi can be heard saying “We need Ram Rajya in India.” Alvi continues “How should the Ram Rajya be? There is no place for hatred in Ram Rajya. Tulsidas has said that a goat and a lion will drink from the same pond (under Ram Rajya). How can there be space for hatred in such a country? But these days, some people are misleading the people of India by raising the Jai Shri Ram chants. We have to be careful.”
Alvi further continues to quote from Ramayana, “In Ramayana, when Lakshman was wounded, the Sanjeevani herb was required to be brought before sunrise, or his life was in danger. Hanuman was given the responsibility to bring the herb from near the Himalayas. Ravan meanwhile disguised a demon in the form of a seer who started chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ while Hanuman flew to his mission. Many people chant the slogan these days. Hanuman as a devotee, sat down to chant. The demon, whose real intention is to waste (Hanuman’s) time, told him to bathe in Lake Mansarovar before taking the Lord’s name. It is another matter acharya ji, that today those who say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ say it without the ritual bathing.
“A crocodile, who is an apsara living her curse, held Hanuman by his legs, and said “Why are you wasting your time? You have to get the Sanjeevani herb before the sunrise. The monk who sits chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is not a seer, but a terrible demon. I just wish to take my leave by saying that even today, not all the people who chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ are seers (munis), but demons.”
While Alvi’s comments seem clearly aimed at the BJP, Newschecker’s assessment of the longer version of the video indicates that the remarks have been tweeted without the context.
When Newschecker reached out to Rashid Alvi, he said that the remarks were taken out of context. “I spoke at an event in Kalki Dham (Sambhal, U.P), in front of scores of seers who blessed me after my speech. I have definitely not said that every man saying ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is a demon. I said that every man who is saying ‘Jai Shri Ram’ is not a seer. Ram is a symbol of a faith on which there can be no politics. I have also said that there should be Ram Rajya within the state in its true sense, where there is no hatred. This is a habit of the BJP to shred sentences down to every word and exploit it.”
Newschecker also reached out to Amish Devgan of News18 Hindi and Rohit Ranjan of Zee Hindustan, but have not received any response till the time of publishing.
On listening to the full version of Rashid Alvi’s remarks in Sambhal, we find that while Alvi’s comments, though clearly aimed at BJP, have been tweeted without the context and hence are misleading.