Shirish Kunder fans disappointed with his apology

<b>Supporters of UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath have begun to target humour and satire on social media. But must the police and courts play along?</b>

Photo from Twitter of Shirish Kunder with his wife Farah Khan. Kunder
tendered apology after an FIR was filed against him alleging that he made derogatory statements against UP
chief minister Yogi Adityanath
Photo from Twitter of Shirish Kunder with his wife Farah Khan. Kunder tendered apology after an FIR was filed against him alleging that he made derogatory statements against UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath

NH Political Bureau

  • A student silently protests against violence. The entire Establishment gangs up against her. Shows the power of two S's: Silence & Students.
  • Govt's reaction to college student’s peaceful protest is natural. It's the fear of the unknown. Most of them have never been to college.

Those were tweets from director, composer and columnist Shirish Kunder in response to the selective outrage on social media at 18-year-old Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur who had posted a silent video with one of several placards declaring that Pakistan did not kill her father, war did.

When controversial Haryana minister Anil Vij advised supporters of the Gurmehar to shift to Pakistan, Kunder responded with the following tweet: “If every one of them is thrown out, only ISI agents, child traffickers, goons and trolls will be left behind.”

Hugely popular on Twitter with a following running into 2.95 lakh, Kunder has been a rage with his witty and thoughtful comments on society and politics. And at least some of his fans would be disappointed at Kunder tendering an apology after an FIR was filed in Lucknow against Kunder alleging that he had made derogatory statements against the UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath.

Kunder tweeted that he “unconditionally apologised”. The allegedly offensive tweets, deleted by him now, were the following, according to PTI :

  • "Going by the logic of making a goon as CM so that he behaves, Dawood can be CBI director. And Mallya - RBI Governor (sic).
  • Hoping a goon will stop rioting once he's allowed to rule is like expecting a rapist to stop raping once he's allowed to rape (sic)".

While the FIR filed by one Amit Kumar Tiwary, Secretary of Thakurdwara Trust at Ayodhya, served the dual purpose of extracting an apology from Kunder and some publicity to deter others from criticising the new UP chief minister, opinion is divided on whether the tweets would have attracted any penalty.

Kunder was clearly reacting to BJP spokesmen saying on TV that while Yogi Adityanath may have been guilty in the past of delivery hate speech and while the party had earlier distanced itself from him, anointing him the chief minister was like making the naughtiest student the class monitor.

While the Mumbai-based director and columnist must have reasoned that tendering an apology would save him from harassment, the episode raises questions on the role of the police, the media and the courts.

Will every complaint against trolls and much more virulent, violent and vulgar online attacks on people attract similar publicity and intimidating action by the police ?

Some of his earlier tweets show why Kunder is so popular. He does not seem to have crossed the ‘Lakshman Rekha’ drawn by either Law or society ever. But an imaginary line seems to have been drawn now by blind supporters of the UP chief minister.

  • Before elections, make promises to fools. After elections, make promises to the rest. Then, let the two fight & fulfill promises to friends.
  • Idiots are like water. They occupy most of the Earth.
  • Everyone playing Holi must yell "Holi Hai" at the other people playing Holi, just in case they haven't realised it yet.
  • You can always be assured of a larger market if you cater to idiots. And if you're an idiot yourself, you can always relate to them better.
  • The words of the wise will be silenced by the aggression of fools.

One of his favourite responses was when he was asked whether his children were Hindu or Muslim, in an obvious reference to he being a Hindu and his wife being a Muslim. Kunder deadpanned : “Depends on which festival is next. Last month (December), they were Christians.”

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Published: 25 Mar 2017, 4:02 PM