In a six-month-long investigation, Sagar, a staff-writer at The Caravan, scrutinised Facebook live broadcasts by members affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and the Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the Delhi violence of February 2020. In this series based on the investigation, The Caravan reports on the Hindutva mobilisation that preceded the violence, its political and communal nature, and the role played by the RSS, BJP and affiliated organisations such as the Bajrang Dal in fomenting hate against those protesting the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019.
Although the situation on the ground reached a flashpoint only on 23 February, the BJP’s political mobilisation around the CAA had begun weeks earlier, as a central theme of the party’s Delhi election campaign. The national capital went to polls on 8 February 2020, and in the days and weeks ahead of it, the BJP had deployed a large number of its cadre to galvanise support among the local Hindu population by stirring them against the anti-CAA protests.
Anupam Pandey, the president of the BJP’s Sonia Vihar mandal—a ward in northeast Delhi—had actively campaigned on the CAA issue for the party. On 31 December 2019, Pandey addressed a rally in which he called the anti-CAA protestors “deshdrohis”—anti-nationals. In a livestream of the rally posted by one of his subordinates, Pandey can be heard telling the crowd, “I want to tell you something: if there is anyone who talks for Hindus it is only the BJP … If the next chief minister is from BJP, then these traitors who are sitting on roads, the ones burning buses, we would at least get rid of them.”