De-platforming of Gopi Shankar Madurai: RISE responds with obfuscation

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The fissures in the LGBTQIA+ community is out in the open after RISE, an event to promote LGBTQIA+, and allegedly become a bridge between the industry and job seekers from the community. The event also purports to include various views, voices and thoughts on inclusion in the workplace. However, a recent event has exposed the intolerance of a strong Left coterie that exists within the LGBTQIA+ community and the active persecution and denial of agency to those who disagree. RISE, the event that is meant to promote LGBTQIA+ voices has de-platformed a Dharmic activist, Gopi Shankar Madurai because he did not subscribe to their Left-leaning views.

OpIndia had done an exclusive story on the circumstances and people involved, directly or indirectly, in the de-platforming of Gopi Shankar Madurai. What emerged was a dangerous role of several anti-Hindu, anti-India activists who are regularly promoted by Godrej. Interestingly, one of the partners of Price Circle, that organises the RISE event, is also Godrej.

In the process of writing the report, OpIndia had tried to get in touch with the organiser of RISE, Mr Ram Sinha. In a brief conversation the correspondent had with Mr Sinha, first, he denied de-platforming Mr Madrai, and when confronted with evidence (of digital communication), he said that his PR agency will communicate further with OpIndia.

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Read: Godrej, a deeply problematic association with anti-Hindu, anti-India elements and the silencing of a Dharmic LGBTQIA+ activist

PR agency of RISE, AvianWE got in touch with OpIndia with a statement today regarding the de-platforming of Gopi Shankar Madurai.

The statement by AvianWE read:

“We deny the ‘de-platforming’ of Gopi Shankar from the Delhi edition of RISE. He did raise concern and discomfort on the presence of certain people who were attending or speaking at our event. His decision not to be part of the Delhi edition is entirely his. At Pride Circle, the organisers of RISE, we work as a bridge between industry and the job seekers from the LGBTI community with an aim to promote inclusivity at workplaces in India. Our events include various views, voices and thoughts on inclusion. The opinions of the associated organizations and speakers are their personal views and by no means, their actions and comments reflect the views of RISE or Pride Circle.”

“Our objective is solely to promote diversity and create an inclusive workplace environment for all.”

In this view, we would really appreciate if you can remove mention of RISE in your story as it connects personal views of a few people with that of RISE, which is entirely incorrect.

The statement by AvianWE gives rise to more questions than it answers. In response to this email, OpIndia responded with a set of further questions.

1. At no point of time has RISE communicated this to Gopi electronically either requesting him to reconsider or stay on. On the other hand, the one-sided communications from Gopi to you, of which he has provided us proof indicates that he was indeed de-platformed and that RISE deliberately refused to respond to his electronic communication precisely to avoid acknowledging that he had been de-platformed (sic).

This question raised was in reference to the email and SMS trail that Mr Gopi Shankar Madurai had provided OpIndia. In that communication, Mr Madurai clearly mentioned that he was de-platformed for his pro-government tweet. The organisers of RISE had not responded to his message.

2. In my conversation with Mr Ranganekar, he also confirmed that a conference call between the organiser, himself and Gopi was conducted and at this point, the issue of his tweet praising the BJP was discussed. If indeed the private opinions of individuals are kept out of their inclusion into this platform then it seems strange that the tweet was brought up in the conversation as it seems to significantly contradict what you have told me (sic).

3. In our conversations with Mr Rangnekar, and in addition to in a DM to one Mr Abijit Iyer Mitra, Mr Rangnekar has claimed that he is not an organiser of this event. It begs the question, therefore, why PRIDE Circle has chosen to cc him in the email and why he was included in that conference call apparently at the behest of Mr Ram Sinha as the electronic record seem to indicate, the inclusion of Mr Rangnekar was done not by Gopi but by Ram Sinha.

The two points raised in the response to AvianWE was in connection to a conversation that this correspondent had with Mr Sharif Ragnekar, who is the organiser of the Rainbow Litfest which is also one of the organisations officially supporting the RISE event. In the conversation, Mr Ragnekar had confirmed that he was a part of the conference call between Mr Gopi Shankar Madurai and Mr Ram Sinha. In the conversation, he had confirmed that the tweet of Mr Madurai did come up. Though he maintained that Gopi was not exactly de-platformed, the question was posed as to why that tweet came up at all. Also, if he was not an organiser of RISE as he claimed, why was he a part of the conference call.

4. We are open to the possibility that this may be a miscommunication, however, since we have the consent of the other party Gopi Shankar Madurai, we request you to share any electronic communications that were exchanged between you and Goopi that disproves the same. Pursuant to point 1 in this mail, please note we have adequate proof of electronic communication to you from Gopi which have not been responded to and as you know silence acquiescence or in this particular case as we suspect a deliberate attempt on your part to avoid any kind of evidence of de-platforming (sic).

Finally, OpIndia asked AvianME to provide proof of electronic communication that supported the claims being made by them against Mr Gopi Shankar Madurai.

Interestingly, after this follow-up was sent to AvianME, OpIndia spoke to Mr Madurai yet again to ask him some follow up questions too.

Mr Madurai vehemently restated that was indeed de-platformed by RISE. Following is the paraphrasing the conversation between Mr Madurai and Mr Ram Sinha, as relayed by Mr Gopi Shankar Madurai:

Ram Sinha: “our hands are tied, sorry we cannot allow this, if we allow you, the left-leaning will boycott the event”.

Gopi Shankar Madurai: Can I participate.

Ram Sinha: No Gopi I am sorry there are many against you here.

Two extremely contrasting versions have emerged from RISE and Mr Gopi Shankar Madurai, however, while Mr Madurai has given electronic evidence of his side of the messages, the organisers of RISE are yet to substantiate their stand with any proof of communication.

Note: This is a developing story and as and when we receive further communication, we will keep our readers updated. That the initial statement and our follow up questions will be reported was communicated to AvianWE in the email correspondence.

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