A History Of Announcing Bounties For Severed Tongues: Meet Satpal Tanwar, Who Wants ‘Blasphemer’ Nupur Sharma Hanged
Delhi police tweeted on 9 June that legal action has been initiated against Satpal Tanwar.
Even after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suspended their spokesperson Nupur Sharma over allegedly offensive comments on Islam’s founder, she continues to face several threats.
Recently, a man named Nawab Satpal Tanwar joined the fray of agitators and said he would "make her [Nupur] do 'mujra' in public".
In a video shared widely on many social media platforms, the “all-India chief and founder” of Bhim Sena, a Dalit party set up in 2010, also declared a Rs 1 crore reward for anyone who would present to him Sharma’s tongue.
"If the state and central government are not capable of taking action against Nupur Sharma, they should hand over her to me… I will make her do mujra [a dance performed by Mughal era courtesans] in front of everyone and then punish her as I deem fit. The whole country will see her dance," Tanwar says in a 20-minute video available on YouTube.
"Nupur Sharma has committed blasphemy in the name of Nabi… Her crime is not forgivable. She deserves to be hanged," he goes on to say.
Tanwar has previously made headlines for issuing similar threats to singer-dancer Sapna Choudhary, Bollywood actor Richa Chaddha and spiritual orator Devki Nandan Thakur. There are several FIRs against him in UP, Haryana and Rajasthan.
In the video, he says, "Nupur Sharma is the real mastermind of Kanpur violence. Modi and Yogi government must arrest her immediately and throw her into jail. However, they didn't take any legal action against her, so I announce a reward of Rs 1 crore to whoever brings me her severed tongue.”
A brief on his previous controversies:
On 17 February 2016, popular Haryanvi singer-dancer Sapna Choudhary performed on-stage a folk-style 'Ragini' in Gurugram. Tanwar alleged that the folk song contained casteist slurs and registered a complaint against her under the prevention of atrocities act, loosely called the SC-ST Act, on 14 July. Link to the song is here.
Several complaints were registered against her under the same act regarding this song.
As the online smear campaign against her intensified, on 4 September, she attempted suicide by drinking poison and was admitted to a hospital. Before the attempt, she wrote a five-page suicide note, holding Tanwar responsible for her action.
She reportedly wrote, "I am in this profession to earn a livelihood… Satpal Tanwar is solely responsible for the decision that I have taken. With folded hands, I appeal to authorities in the Haryana cabinet to not trouble my mother after this and ensure the strictest possible punishment for Tanwar.”
Choudhary also sent a copy to the women's police station in Gurgaon, after which Tanwar was booked under IPC sections 354-A (sexual harassment) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Later, Tanwar filed an FIR based on an audio recording which he claimed showed Choudhary’s hand in an attack on him. As per the reports, he was attacked by unknown attackers on 16 January 2017.
Richa played the lead role in ‘Madam Chief Minister’, a 2021 movie about a Dalit woman who becomes the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh. Although the filmmakers issued a disclaimer saying it was a fictional story, many internet users wondered aloud if BSP supremo Mayawati had inspired the lead role.
Controversy erupted in early January when the movie poster, where the protagonist was seen holding a broom, was released. Many netizens claimed use of broom reinforced a stereotype against Dalits and sought an apology from the filmmakers.
Although Chadha apologised for the poster calling it “a regrettable and a completely unintentional oversight”, and assured that the filmmakers had taken it down, Tanwar said the apology was unacceptable and Bhim Sena would not allow any screening of the movie. He issued a bounty of Rs 2 crores for anyone who could severe Chadha’s tongue and present it to him.
He said, “Jo bhai ya behen Richa Chadha ki zubaan kaat kar ke le ke aayega, usse hum Baba Ambedkar Sahab ki Rs 2 crore ki shield se sammanit karenge... hum Subhash Kapoor ko nanga karke sadak ke upar parade karwayenge. Agar goli bhi maarni padi na Bahujan Samaj ki raksha ke liye ... behen Mayawati ke samman ke liye.... hum peeche nahi hatange. Richa Chadha, aapko goli se uda diya jayega dhyaan rakhna.”
Below is the translation:
“Whoever chops Richa Chadha’s tongue and brings it to me will be honoured with Baba Ambedkar Sahab’s shield worth Rs 2 crore… I will parade director Subhash Kapoor naked on the streets. Even if I have to shoot someone to protect the Bahujan Samaj and sister Mayawati’s honour, I will not back down. Richa Chadha, remember that you will be shot dead.”
To this, Chadda responded with a tweet on 17 January saying “hum nahi darte [we don’t get scared].”
Devki Nandan Thakur:
Spiritual orator Devki Nandan Thakur, often seen on television debates, complained to Mathura police in 2018 that Tanwar was conspiring to kill him.
A video, where Tanwar confirms the threat and charge, is available online on YouTube. In the video, Tanwar is rebuking Thakur for publicly expressing views against reservation and misuse of the SC-ST Act.
As per a 2021 report, Tanwar was booked under charges of treason for holding an online auction for Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.
The so-called auction, announced as a political stunt to grab attention, proposed that the highest bidder would get to keep the CM.
Series of FIRs in various cases
In 2018, the Faridabad police arrested Tanwar and his allies for allegedly waving swords and inciting religious sentiments during a protest.
In 2020, UP CM Yogi Adityanath accused certain groups and individuals of conspiring to instigate caste and communal riots over the incident of a gangrape of a Dalit girl in Hathras, prompting UP Police to investigate any possible links to Nawab Satpal Tanwar and Bhim Sena.
Cases have also been registered in various states against Tanwar over several crimes like sedition.
According to Tanwar’s website, where he elaborates on various aspects of his life, he was born and raised in Khandsa village of Gurugram district, Haryana. He completed BA, two MAs and LLB from different universities in Delhi. Other than ‘Bhim Sena’, he also runs various NGOs and says BSP founder Kanshiram inspired his ideology.
His Twitter account, with over 20,000 followers, was suspended after his hate speech against Nupur Sharma went viral. His videos are available on a channel named ‘National Dastak’ on YouTube. He uses Facebook Live to interact with his audience.
There are many videos where Tanwar threatens people.
The police wrote, “We have taken cognizance of the matter. Legal action has already been initiated.”
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