Demonstrators hold placards during a protest against the new Citizenship Amendment Act, at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi
Demonstrators hold placards during a protest against the new Citizenship Amendment Act, at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi
Photo: ANI

BJP leader Amit Malviya on Wednesday took to Twitter to allege that the "Shaheen Bagh protest is sponsored"

"All this is the Congress' game," the BJP IT cell chief added in Hindi.

Malviya shared a video to back his claim. The video, which bears a similar title, says that "it is all about money". In it, an individual can be seen stating that the Shaheen Bagh protesters are paid to show up.

He alleges, that the protesters, mostly women, have shifts and are paid accordingly. The shift system, the man in the video can be seen saying, helps ensure that you see new faces at the protest.

Food is also sent for them, he alleges.

He adds that the shops in the area too are on board with the protests as they have been paid.

The veracity of this video has not been confirmed by this publication. It must also be mentioned that Malviya has, in the past, shared fake news, as well as putting out controversial messages on social media.

Take his recent Twitter poll, where he's asked people if "Rajdeep Sardesai should handle PR for ISIS".

On another occasion, he had said that Nobel Laureate and economist Richard Thaler was in support of India's demonetisation initiative -- something that that Thaler himself seemed to deny in conversation with a Twitter user.

On another occasion, in 2017, he drew a parallel between Hardik Patel and Jawaharlal Nehru.

"It seems Hardik has more of Nehru’s DNA, contrary to what @shaktisinhgohil claimed," he had tweeted, sharing a collage of pictures of India's first Prime Minister with different women. Malviya was referring to the alleged sex scandal involving Patel.

Unfortunately, one of the photos he chose to make his point was that of Nehru with his sister Vijaylakshmi Pandit, reported fact-checking website Alt News.

Malviya's post drew criticism from many on Twitter.

An indefinite protest at Shaheen Bagh had started on December 15 with people demanding that the government withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and a possible pan-India National Register of Citizens (NRC). Similar indefinite protests had simultaneously unfolded at Jamia Millia Islamia and Zakir Nagar also.

The peaceful protest has reportedly left the Delhi Police at a loss. According to a PTI report that quoted an officer, since the protests at Shaheen Bagh are being carried out without leaders, they do not know whom they should interact with to resolve the issue.

Recently, on Wednesday, hundreds of Sikhs from Punjab joined the Shaheen Bagh protesters demanding withdrawal of the CAA. The gathering of around 350 Sikhs from Moga, Barnala, Ludhiana, Patiala, Sangroor districts came as farmers' body Kisan Union (Ekta) (Ugraha) extended its support to the protestors in Delhi.

Protests had erupted across India soon after the contentious CAA received assent on December 12. In some places, the protests have led to violent clashes. In Uttar Pradesh for example, nearly 20 people have died.

According to the amended law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and face religious persecution there will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. The law excludes Muslims.

Those opposing the law contend that it discriminates on the basis of religion and violates the Constitution. They also allege that the CAA along withe the NRC is intended to target the Muslim community in India.

However, the central government has dismissed the allegations, maintaining that the law is intended to give citizenship to the persecuted people from the three neighbouring countries and not to take away citizenship from anyone.

(With inputs from agencies)

Free Press Journal