From a worried Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif asking – in a photoshopped picture on Twitter of course — “ 120 crore log ko hum kaha rakehnge (Where will we accommodate 120 crore people)” to @_rahul_bansal_ salivating in his tweet (‘I heard kababs r amazing there’), social media had a field day on Monday vis-à-vis Bihar BJP leader Giriraj Singh’s diatribe against ‘(Narendra) Modi critics’.

Singh, a candidate in Bihar, had on Saturday said at an election rally that “all Modi critics should go to Pakistan”. Former BJP president Nitin Gadkari too was present at the rally.

A day after an FIR was filed against Singh for the comment and he had been reportedly pulled up by the BJP top brass, he remained defiant. “I have said nothing wrong. I have not insulted Muslims; I am talking about those who are Pakistan supporters.”

Needless to say, twitterati loved his comments and #ModiSendMeToPak trended through Monday. iKashmir tweeted: “See My Evening Click at Mumbai Airport.” The accompanying shot had over 50 flights taking off!

When Khamba asked @makemytrip: “Hello what are you offering in infidel packages for trips to Pakistan for criticising Modi? Group inquiry please revert,” the answer was an appropriate: “Already overbooked! Business has been good today. Though we may start some charters given the sudden rise in demand.”

No laughing matter But the titters on Twitter apart, the other hashtag trending — #Arrest Togadia — was another scary reminder on how hatemongering has dominated this election supposedly being fought on the plank of development.

Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia, from whom thankfully Modi created a distance long ago, was trending on Twitter for doing what he does best — spewing venom at Muslims.

Addressing a group of people in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, he ‘educated’ them how to prevent Muslims from living in a ‘Hindu area’. If they practised what he taught them, the Muslim guy would have to run away from his house or lose his money.

For the uninitiated, there are distinct Muslim and Hindu localities and housing societies across the bigger cities of ‘progressive Gujarat’.

Muslims can neither rent nor buy an apartment in a ‘Hindu area’, and a Hindu wouldn’t want to be seen dead living with Muslims in a Muslim locality.

And this is not of Modi’s making. This ‘partition’ has existed between Hindus and Muslims for long decades in Gujarat, arguably the most communally polarised State in India.

Gujarat’s “partition” That this is no empty threat has been documented time and again from Gujarat. For example, after the 2002 pogrom, and several times before it too, several Muslims trapped in ‘Hindu areas’ — there can be some Muslim apartment complexes in certain Hindu areas — in Ahmedabad had to sell their apartments at throwaway prices to scuttle to the safety of Muslim areas, however ghettoised they might have been.

This is the sordid reality of Gujarat. Not that such divisions aren’t there in cities like Mumbai or Delhi, but there the discrimination is more sophisticated — instead of ‘Muslims not allowed’, the lingo is: ‘non-vegetarians’ not allowed!

So it was laughable to read Congress leader Rashid Alvi’s comment that “Togadia should be treated…hospitalised.

In this country, if Hindus stay in a Hindu area and Muslims in a Muslim area, and they are not allowed to buy property in each other’s areas, it is against the Constitution.”Alvi would do well to talk to whatever little is left of the Congress leadership in Gujarat to enlighten himself that such practises have been followed for decades.

RSS bats Togadia The RSS was quick to defend Togadia. Its spokesman Ram Madhav said: “I have spoken to Praveen Togadia. He completely denies making such comments. It is fabricated. No Swayamsevak thinks on such divisive lines. They think of all people as one.” Well, yet another case of wishful thinking or inadequate information!

Madhav would have done better to watch the video clip available on YouTube by Monday evening, disproving Togadia’s denial even as he threatened defamation cases against the publications that reported his speech. In this, Togadia teaches an audience the two tricks of keeping Muslims out of their localities. One, “get the government to bring your area under the Disturbed Areas Act…we did this in Ahmedabad and elsewhere in the Congress era through agitation. Once this is done, Muslims can’t buy homes in Hindu areas.”

Two, continues Togadia, “hire a lawyer, get illegal possession and put a board of ‘Bajrang Dal’ on it. You won’t be hanged ( loud applause ) for this. Rajiv Gandhi’s killers were not hanged; we won’t be hanged either.

Also, when the house owner comes out on the street, organise a spitting programme on him, or get 10-15 children to throw tomatoes at him. Such things are not punishable. I’ve done such things for long years.” His parting shot: “He’ll either have to vacate or lose his money, as we would have possession of the house.”

Unfortunately, such hate-mongers have a huge following. Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, who has been banned from canvassing by the Election Commission for his hate speeches, was hailed by some villagers as Sher-e-Hindustan and Dil ka tukda in the area he spewed venom on the BJP.

Amidst such depressing news, respite comes from the social media and satirists such as Faking News, which carried a report titled: “PMO to release 1,000 speeches by Manmohan Singh as a Music Album”.

On Twitter Ramesh Srivats said: “If Togadia has his way the whole country will be divided into Hindu areas, Muslim areas, and so on. Our society will become an Area Samaj”! Bollywood icon Farhan Akhtar, with a 2.88 million following, tweeted: “If moron was a country, here is its president.”

The silver lining on the dark clouds that have dominated this election season is that the overwhelming majority of comments slamming, deriding, sneering at Giriraj Singh, Togadia & Co, came from Hindus.

Despite the fanatic trolls who pounce on you on social media for any perceived comment against Modi, it is such spontaneous outpouring that makes India truly secular. Not the platitudes on secularism mouthed by opportunistic politicians.

The last word should go to Deoband’s Maulana Mehmood Madani who said on Giriraj Singh’s hate speech: “There are plenty of people in Pakistan who think like Giriraj Singh, perhaps he should be sent there.” Amen.