Meet Ranu Das, the leader of the BJP’s youth wing at the center of violence in Tripura
Almost everyone in the Tripura town of Panisagar, which made headlines for allegedly targeting properties owned by Muslims by participants of a Vishwa Hindu Parishad rally in October, has seen a video.
Twenty-seven seconds long, the clip shows hundreds of people shouting slogans in Hindi on the Agartala–Assam highway, allegedly protesting attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh. “Hindustan main Mullagiri nahi chalega,” shouts a man in a maroon kurta, mike in hand. “It won’t, won’t,” responds the crowd. No Mullagiri in India – a derogatory reference to Muslims – no.
It then gets more vicious: “Mohammed tere baap ka naam,” the man declares, “Jai Shri Ram, Jai Shri Ram,” the crowd replies. Translation: The name of the father of Prophet Muhammad is Lord Ram.
The alleged sloganeering is led by Ranu Das, 29, a resident of Panisagar, and the local general secretary of the ruling BJP’s student wing Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha. Das was earlier a worker of the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the VHP.
The BJP and the VHP are part of the Sangh Parivar, a group of organizations led by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
But there is a twist. Another version of the nearly three-minute-long video showed Das raising different slogans in Bengali, the most widely spoken language in Tripura. “Duniyar Hindu Samaj,” he shouts in this version. “Be one,” claims the crowd. Hindus of the world unite.
This is followed by “Jai Shri Ram”, and “Jongibari Kalo Haath Bhegedao Gudidao”, which means “we will break and destroy the black hands of Jongibari (roughly translated as militants)”. The word has been replaced with “Jihadi”, and the subsequent slogans were sprinkled with “Sheikh Hasina Hi Hi”, referring to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
different audio, different version
Muslim residents of Panisagar, mostly concentrated in the villages of Chamtila and Rowa Bazar, say the video showing Das abusing the Prophet is original. However, Hindus affiliated with the Sangh, including Das himself, insist that this version is fake, and that only the tall one is genuine.
According to Alt News, at least seven other videos on Tripura violence have been shared with false messages.
While the longer video clearly shows a better sync between the mouths of the speakers and the Bengali slogans, Muslim residents, who claim to be eyewitnesses, allege that they saw Das defame the Prophet during an October 26 rally And heard – when members of the procession attacked a mosque and torched shops owned by Muslims.
activist, cricketer, engineer
Das is not a beginner in Tripura politics. He comes from a well-known political family in northern Tripura – his father, Rakesh Das, was twice elected sarpanch of Panisagar in the 1960s and 70s, when the town was a village outside Dharmanagar. His elder brother, Ranjit Das, started his political career in the Indian National Congress about 10 years ago, and joined the BJP in 2016. Ranu, 24, had joined the Bajrang Dal later that year.
Ranjeet told Newslaundry, “Ranu is now in the BJP, but her heart has always been close to the VHP and Bajrang Dal.” The elder brother’s wife, Papita, was the chairman of the Panisagar municipality, and is contesting on a BJP ticket in the Tripura municipal elections to be held during the last week of November.
Meet Ranu Das the leader of the BJP’s youth wing at the center of violence in Tripura
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by News East India staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)