hate speech


Trigger Warning: Hate Speech, Islamophobia

Umang, the fest of ENSO, the Entrepreneurship Cell of Dyal Singh College witnessed stand-up comedian Vivek Samtani make Islamophobic remarks through his jokes. Consequently, the stand-up comedian along with ENSO issued a public apology followed by condemnation posts by the Student Federation of India (SFI).

On 22 April, 2024, stand-up comedian Vivek Samtani performed at Umang, the societal fest of ENSO, the Entrepreneurship Cell of Dyal Singh College. However, the performance was interrupted by hate remarks, targeting the Muslim community, as can be observed from this video that has been circulated widely across social media. However, soon enough the comedian issued a public apology on stage, followed by ENSO issuing apologies on their social media handles as well. 

Post the event, SFI Delhi University issued a press release dated 24 April, 2024, condemning the Islamophobic comments passed during the event and urged, “strict action against perpetrators”.

The Press Release quotes that:

“By trivializing acts of terrorism and reducing Muslims to caricatures of violence, these so-called “jokes” contribute to the stigmatization and marginalization of an already vulnerable community. In a country where Muslims are routinely targeted and demonized, such rhetoric only serves to fuel hatred and intolerance. It has no place in our universities and should be condemned unequivocally by the student community!”

The Press Release also draws upon the recent pre-election speech by the Prime Minister in Rajasthan:

“This insidious narrative has been actively promoted by certain political leaders, including the Prime Minister, who has made derogatory remarks referring to Muslims as “infiltrators” and accused them of “producing many children” to skew demographics.”

The Press Release concludes with, “comedy cannot be employed as a tool to pass off such dehumanization.”

Aditi, Delhi University Convenor of SFI confirms that ENSO of Dyal Singh College sought an apology from the stand-up comedian after the event and he did so, as can be observed from this video. She adds that,

“ENSO has ensured that they do not support such hateful remarks that have been advocated by the stand-up comedian, Vivek Samtani. SFI has put out a statement that we understand ENSO’s statement of apology but hold the comedian responsible for his speech. We might go ahead with an FIR against the comedian.”

An excerpt from SFI’s statement supporting ENSO’s action against the comedian reads that:

SFI Delhi University welcomes the statement issued by ENSO of DSC against the Islamophobic remarks. We welcome their acknowledgement of the seriousness of the matter and their commitment to rectifying the situation. It is encouraging to see swift action taken in response to the offensive comments made during the stand-up comedy performance.”

Reaching out to team ENSO as to what conspired during the event, we were able to gauge that the society had forewarned the comedian before his performance to not pass any “offensive comments” or use “foul language” since such remarks would be considered  derogatory within an educational setting. The performance ensued with jokes pertaining to ‘ college drama – academics, relationships and the usual with Islamophobic comments sprinkled through the set. 

A member of ENSO, in conversation with DU Beat, mentions that:

“The comedy performance by Vivek Samtani was a closed event with around 200-250 members seated within the auditorium. However, before inviting the comedian we had researched upon his previous performances to make sure that nothing ‘problematic’ would ensue. But after his offensive remarks, our members sought a public apology from the comedian on stage which he rendered at that moment. Not just that, ENSO has posted a public apology to all on their Instagram handle and we have reached out personally to people to issue apologies. Post the event, our team had a conversation with the comedian within the conference room regarding his offensive remarks and the comedian even contacted us personally after leaving the college to check if the situation within the college had not worsened. However, members within ENSO have been receiving hateful messages ever since this event occurred, even though we are trying our best to resolve the issue.”

The public apology issued by ENSO on their Instagram page mentions that:

“We are deeply sorry for the recent incident at our event. Please know that we condemn the artist’s actions and are committed to rectifying the situation. We want to clarify that we do not support the offensive comments made by the artist. Despite our warnings to him, things didn’t go as planned, and we took immediate action. We have no personal affiliation with the artist however, we have asked him to issue a public apology as well.”

While the 15-second clip of Vivek Samtani’s performance has taken over the Internet, student bodies are willing to correct the situation so that such hateful instances do not arise within educational spaces in the future.

Read Also: The Hidden Economy of Hate

Featured Image Credits: Bharish for DU Beat

Priyanka Mukherjee

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