On September 12, Yogi Adityanath, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, made a statement that re-establishes him as a flag holder of the Hindutva politics. Addressing a programme in Kushinagar, he claimed that before 2017 people who only said Abba Jaan- an Urdu term for father commonly used in the Muslim community to get foodgrain ration. He noted that the foodgrain ration of Kushinagar used to go to Nepal and Bangladesh.
He said, “Because then, people who say ‘abba jaan’ used to digest the rations. The rations of Kushinagar used to go to Nepal and Bangladesh. Today, if anybody tries to swallow the rations meant for poor people, he will land in jail.”
This led to many tweets by journalists and other citizens posting their photos with their father calling them Abba Jaan.
— Saba Naqvi (@_sabanaqvi) September 13, 2021
My abba jaan used to work for Food Corporation of India as District Controller. Never did he teach me that other abba jaans were consuming all rations. Ammi jaan being a doctor didn’t know discrimination. #AbbaJaan #HamareAbbaJaan pic.twitter.com/KJIsqfs17j
— Dr. Namrata Datta (PhD) 🇮🇳🇬🇧 (@candinam) September 13, 2021
The opposition reacted strongly by calling the language unparliamentary. Omar Abdullah, the National Conference vice-president, criticised the chief minister’s remark. “I’ve always maintained the BJP has no intention of fighting an election with an agenda other than blatant communalism & hatred with all the venom directed towards Muslims. Here is a CM seeking re-election claiming that Muslims ate up all the rations meant for Hindus,” he said.
But amidst this commotion, a few journalists did what they were supposed to. They fact-checked his statement. In her story titled ‘A Death by Hunger‘, independent journalist Srishti brings us the stories of people who died of hunger under Yogi Adityanath’s governance. The report should remind the chief minister accusing the opposition of minority appeasement that he has not made food available to the community he proudly hails from.
The death of Sonia, a 5-year-old girl due to hunger and sickness in Agra, created a stir in August last year. This incident led to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issuing a notice to the Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh, seeking a detailed report on the incident. The notice clearly said that the Agra incident was a severe violation of human rights “due to gross negligence by the local administration”.
In June, NDTV reported another case that came out from Aligarh. Guddi, a 45-year-old woman, was hospitalised with her five children after battling hunger for two months.
They were hospitalised due to the timely interference of a local NGO. Guddi, who lost her husband during the first lockdown, didn’t have a ration card or an Aadhar card. The doctors confirmed that her family are fragile and unable to walk because of starvation.
In 2018, a heart-wrenching episode of death by starvation came from Kushinagar, where Yogi Adityanath gave his controversial statements.
A video taken by freelance journalist Anoop Kumar surfaced on September 13, 2018. In the video, we can hear a frail-looking young man by the name of Feku can be heard speaking. “CM-Ji, my older brother died of hunger, please save me,” he said. Pappu and Feku died 16 hours apart.
The brothers belonged to the Musahar community — a Hindu ‘Scheduled Caste’ community.
Yogi’s lie is multi-layered. It not only claims that the Hindu community has benefitted after BJP has come to power but also argues that the Muslim community benefited from the Samajwadi Party. The fact remains that both the parties have merely politicised the issue of starvation rather than acting on it.