Canadian Anti-Hate Network
Police in Canada’s most populated city are investigating a longtime figure on Canada’s far-right for advocating genocide after he said he supported the killing of Muslims and Sikhs.
Ron Banerjee is being investigated by the Toronto Police Service for advocating genocide after his statements about both religious groups were shared widely on social media.
According to a release, on June 21, 2022, a video filmed in the area of Dundas Square was posted on social media. In the video, music producer DJ Mian conducts a series of vox pop interviews asking a collection of Toronto residents if they think Justin Trudeau should remain prime minister – it did not go well for the Liberal party leader.
One of the people interviewed is Banerjee.
Mian told the Canadian Anti-Hate Network he was not aware of who the man he was speaking to was when they began their conversation.
"I was infuriated by him, we all need to be united together," Mian said. Adding, that standing together in the face of oppression is a theme he tries to address in his music.
In the edited footage posted to YouTube, Banerjee does manage to stay somewhat on topic, taking a few verbal shots at Trudeau. Near the end, however, his more extreme politics boil to the surface.
“I’m a hardcore Hindu nationalist,” he tells the interviewer, voicing support for the administration of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “I encourage them to look at the Modi government.”
Adding he would like to see Modi running Canada as well as India, Banerjee goes on, “We kill Muslim terrorists, we kill Sikh terrorists, it’s awesome what Modi is doing.”
“Muslims need to understand that if they’re going to live in our country they gotta follow our rules and if they don’t, they will get it. They will get it.”
With the line, “I support the killing of the Muslims and the Sikhs in the republic of India because they deserve to die,” the interview comes to a close.
“You’re fucked,” the DJ says.
Police say that the wilful promotion of hatred and advocating genocide are a form of hate propaganda or hate speech offences which require the attorney general’s consent to bring charges. The investigation is reportedly being treated as a suspected hate-motivated offence and is being actively investigated by the city’s Hate Crime Unit.
“Members of the Hate Crime Unit will provide assistance and seek the Attorney General’s consent to lay these charges, if applicable,” the TPS said.
“These charges are often laid at a later time.”
Ron Place, Ron Time
Banerjee is no stranger to incendiary statements – or the law.
In August 2017, blogger Kevin J. Johnston and Ron Banerjee made videos in front of Paramount Fine Foods during an anti-Muslim demonstration and made comments that were overtly hateful towards Muslims and specifically targeted the restaurant’s owner and his business.
While Johnston would go on to famously lose the case in court and be ordered to pay what was, at the time, the largest cyber-libel case in Canadian history, Banerjee instead chose to retract his statements and issue a video apology.
“I said that in order to be permitted entry into the Paramount Fine Foods restaurant you gotta be a Jihadist. I also said you need credentials, you have to have raped your wife a few times to be allowed in there,” Banerjee told the camera. He also was required to pay an undisclosed amount.
He has also been a regular fixture at Toronto’s COVID-conspiracy protests and when tensions in India between the government and farmers, many of whom are Sikh, reached a boiling point, Banerjee shifted his focus to targeting Sikhs.
In a tweet from a since-deleted account, Banerjee stated that “White Canadian Patriot groups” are calling on the Indian Army to send forces to Canada to control the Khalistani-Sikh problem.
Far from the only incident, he has made statements saying that Canada would roll out the red carpet for the Indian Army and the RSS, a right-wing Hindu Nationalist paramilitary group, to “cleanse the country” of Sikhs.
“We badly need Operation Blue Star 2. Hindu Nationalists should be imported for this task,” he wrote on the same Twitter account. Operation Blue Star was an attack carried out by the Indian Army which resulted in the destruction of the Golden Temple, the holiest site in the Sikh religion, as well as the deaths of civilians and Sikh separatists in 1984.
The goal of making India a “Hindu nation” has since evolved into a more general championing of an ideology called Hindutva (“Hindu-ness”). Idealizing extreme nationalism, the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), founded in 1925, has also expressed admiration for fascist leaders like Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. India’s current governing administration headed by Prime Minister Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have openly adopted right-wing nationalism.
Modi himself was an organizer for the RSS and a current member and critics are accusing him and the BJP of remaking India through the framework of “Hindu supremacy.”
Modi’s tenure as India’s PM since 2014 has rejuvenated the central Hindutva premise that all Hindus are united through a single culture and set of beliefs that always formed the foundation of India until foreign intrusion corrupted their institutions.
A big part of Hindutva rhetoric is shaped with reference to this outside meddling and the need to get back to an earlier purer form of governance.
Chief among these “foreigners" are the Muslims. Many instances of openly Islamophobic violence have occurred under Modi, who stripped the Muslim-majority terrority of Jammu and Kashmir of special status, and then fast-tracked citizenship for all non-Hindu refugees except for Muslims. The latter decision, known as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), sparked protests across India.
With files from Steven Zhou and Ahmar Khan.