Inside Aiyar-RWA dispute: Diary on reporters, web series dismay, cheer on WhatsApp

His letter asking Mani Shankar Aiyar and his daughter to apologise or leave the locality was shared by Amit Malviya.

WrittenBy:Sumedha Mittal
Suraiya Aiyar, Mani Shankar Aiyar and RWA chief Kapil Kakkar.
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Kapil Kakkar, president of the Jangpura Extension Welfare Association and a psychologist by profession, is a busy man these days. It’s not patients but reporters who are now queuing up outside his clinic. And Kakkar is jotting down the details about the journalists in a diary, categorising them as “pro-” and “anti-establishment”. 

Kakkar is disappointed that his claim to fame is not his web series titled Black Justice, but a letter from the RWA which was signed by him and sent to Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar and his daughter Suranya Aiyar – telling them to either apologise or move out of the locality over the latter’s social media post protesting against the Ram temple inauguration.

BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya had also shared the letter on X, warning those who think that “abusing Hindu beliefs” is normal.

“It is the media’s job to recognise this work…But forget it, the media is not yet ready for it, I believe, because they do not have that kind of IQ level,” Kakkar told Newslaundry, while referring to the web series he had produced. 

“There is no journalism left in this country,” said the psychologist who claims to have participated in debates with Baba Bageshwar on Times Now and on Republic Bharat, trying to understand the psychology of Aaftab Poonawala, jailed for allegedly murdering his live-in partner and mutilating her body.

‘Received verbal complaints’ 

In a Facebook video, Suranya Aiyar had allegedly said that she would fast to protest the inauguration of the temple. She later told The Indian Express that she does not live in the Jangpura house, which is owned by her father.

Newslaundry had earlier reported how RWAs in several parts of the country were promoting activities surrounding the Ram temple’s inauguration on January 22.

In January, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had cancelled the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act registration of the Centre for Policy Research, which is headed by Suranya’s sister Yamini Aiyar. 

Meanwhile, Kakkar said it is the first time he has signed a notice like this during his 10-year tenure as JEWA’s president. He claimed to have received “verbal complaints” from about five residents over the video. 

“The complaints suggested the video is very objectionable because it is against the Ram temple. And when I saw the video, I also felt this is something…Yes, in her private space she can talk whatever she wants to. Even I go for walks around Mughal monuments on Sundays. That is her right too. But what we did not appreciate was that she said she is feeling very sad for Muslims. Why should she say that she is feeling sad when there was no protest by them? We did not spot any Muslim feeling sad in our colony too,” said Kakkar. “As a Hindu, we respect all religions. I also went to Don Bosco, a Catholic school where I read the Bible. But you can not demean your own religion.”

After the letter, the JEWA WhatsApp group buzzed with congratulatory messages. “Ati sundar baat hai Dr Sahab ki Mani Shankar Aiyar ji ki beti ka samajik bahishakar kiya jaa raha hai (It is great that Mani Shankar Aiyar’s daughter is facing a social boycott),” said one. 

“Thanks, Dr Kakkar, for taking a stance!…Very strange that she never said anything for Kashmiri Pandits being killed in Kashmir,” read another.

Only one resident criticised the act. “Do not agree with you all, she has the right to protest,” wrote one resident, who Kakkar claimed was “anti-BJP, just like your media outlet”. 

Kavi Saxena, secretary of the association, also said, “We stand by Kakkar. What he has done is absolutely correct. I have nothing to add.”

JEWA treasurer Shyam Anand said, “I stand by what Kakkarji has done. But I don’t think he has suggested Aiyars to move out because that would be a bit of an extreme.”

Ashok Vanvaria, joint secretary, refused to comment on the issue. 

Prem, who is a priest at a temple in the colony, said, “I learnt about the JEWA’s letter to Aiyar this morning. JEWA did the right thing. She should not have protested against the Ram temple. If she was not happy with the consecration ceremony then she should have kept it to herself. It was a huge day for us. The celebrations in the colony for the consecration ceremony were bigger than Diwali. At least 500 people came to light lamps at the temple.”

General Kapil Mehra, an 89-year-old resident of the colony, also said he “fully supports” Kakkar. “His suggestion to her to move out of the colony is the direct consequence of her action. She does not have the right to hurt national sentiments. I hope the Aiyars apologise for their act and good sense prevails on them.”

Kakkar, however, claimed he had directed the RWA members to not discuss politics. He also said in the WhatsApp group that the decision was taken to preempt a bad situation. “We are not the Supreme Court to pass orders. But we can tell people to follow norms so that everyone can coexist. And we cannot always wait for the police and administration to act,” he told Newslaundry.

“Had the Muslims suggested that they have an issue with the consecration ceremony being celebrated in the colony, I would have done something. But they did not raise any objections.”

To argue how issues are “sorted out peacefully”, he quoted an instance. He said when residents complained about the volume of the azaan from a local mosque in the adjacent locality of Bhogal, Kakkar claimed that he met the imam of the mosque and offered to donate land to relocate the mosque. The volume was then “adjusted”, he claimed. “That’s how the matter was sorted out peacefully. But it is the media like you which reads it wrong.”

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