A series of independent journalist Srishti Jaswal’s tweets have gone viral on social media for taking head-on the controversial “abba jaan” barb delivered by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. As Twitter flared up with criticism for Yogi, accusing him of communal dialogue, Jaswal countered his claim about only minorities reaping the benefits of free ration distribution in a thread.
Speaking in Kushinagar on Sunday, ahead of the key state election next year that will see him in battle with the opposition to retain his seat in UP, Yogi reportedly said that prior to 2017 when he assumed office, “only those who used to say ‘abba jaan’ were digesting the ration” under the state’s free public distribution system.
‘Abba jaan,’ commonly used in the Muslim community to address fathers, trended on social media following the speech, dividing netizens over his claims. Saying Yogi “lied from the stage,” Jaswal said her “reporting from UP proves otherwise.”
Last year 5-year-old Sonia Kumari died in Agra, a district in Uttar Pradesh. Sonia born to 40-year-old Sheela and 50-year-old Pappu had reportedly gone without ration for 15 days before she died. Pertinent to mention that they are Hindus. pic.twitter.com/DhVgtMeZQC
— Srishti (@seekingsrishti) September 13, 2021
In her Twitter thread, Jaswal highlighted her stories A Death by Hunger and India denying subsidised food grains to millions of its poor, published by StoriesAsia and Al Jazeera respectively, outlining the lives of Hindu families who had suffered last year owing to lack of access to ration in UP and Delhi, as had Muslim families.
“Hunger does not see religion before targeting an empty stomach,” she wrote.
Who Is Srishti Jaswal?
Now an independent journalist, Jaswal was previously employed with Hindustan Times, from where she was reportedly suspended last year over a tweet she made about Hindu god Krishna. HT, in a statement, said they did not “endorse” Jaswal’s comments and that a “code of conduct committee” was looking into the matter.
Writing about her harrowing experience of ultimately losing her job and being targeted by trolls with rape and death threats, Jaswal said that at 24, she “got an invaluable lesson about the high price of free speech in today’s India.” She has since written for media publications Newslaundry, Caravan Magazine, Vice and Article-14.
Image: Srishti Jaswal / Twitter