Rohit Setalvad Owaisi Pradhan’s Perverse Communalism

Do you know who Rohit Pradhan is? Neither do I. But apparently Outlook thought it fit to carry this nonentity’s sorry excuse of an article against Narendra Modi, a poor imitation of Salil Tripathi’s eminently venomous piece in Mint last year. We’ll get to that later but first we need to strip the first five paragraphs of Rohit Pradhan’s 1017-word long textual bile to unmask what it really is: naked communalism. While we’re at those first five paragraphs, check out these gems:

Lionized by a deviously clever PR machine and an invidious personality cult, Modi…the wily chief minister…he is a pedestrian chief minister…

Rohit Pradhan’s pathetic sleight-of-hand attempt fools none. By repeating the “arguments” of the “critics” of Modi’s development by peppering them with his own “invidious” and “wily” masala, he sets the stage to bash Modi in his own sad way. In the process, he trips all over the place, over contradictions of his own making and reveals himself as a Muslim vote bank-mongering communalist.

Of all things, he picks on the 2002 Gujarat riots. Rohit Pradhan is pretty late in the game. The Gujarat Riots Cottage Industry has been milked for all it’s worth and the udder has dried up. Even Teesta Setalvad wouldn’t take Pradhan’s article seriously now. But then fools rush in where angels fear to tread etc and so we’re treated to this laughable line:

It is true that the Gujarat strongman has not been convicted in a court of law and it is possible that he may entirely escape legal punishment.

Did it ever occur to Rohit Pradhan that “not being convicted in a court of law” also means found not guilty by law? Which is where we get the first hint that Pradhan’s piece is tinged with communalism. In his communal worldview, lack of conviction means “escap(ing) legal punishment (sic).” How? Because it’s Narendra Modi under whom

2002 represented a massive administrative and moral failure. Modi’s subsequent actions—whether his inability to apply a healing touch or his attempts to protect the likes of Maya Kodnani—reveal a troubling lack of basic humanism and moral scruples. 

This never ceases to amaze me. The likes of Rohit Pradhan sitting on King Solomon’s seat of judgment and lecturing people about morality. To do that, Rohit Pradhan at the very least needs to show us exactly one evidence to prove that 2002 was a “massive (sic) administrative and moral failure,” and his assertion that Modi protected Maya Kodnani. Unless Rohit Pradhan is dumb or ignorant or doesn’t read the papers, Maya Kodnani was sentenced by the courts. Equally, Pradhan needs to understand a basic truth: “healing touch” or forgiveness is sought when someone has wronged another person. Given that every inquiry all the way up to the Supreme Court’s SIT giving Modi a clean chit, why does Rohit Pradhan and his ilk want Modi to seek forgiveness for a mistake he hasn’t committed?

But then, with such assertions of value judgements, Rohit Pradhan invited us to examine the record of the Institution he is affiliated to, and of which he is a Fellow. We shall do that soon.

Before that, we shall examine the first of his several essay-length contradictions.

The strongest argument against Modi is…that he is seen as the face of 2002 riots. He is viewed  as emblematic of India’s unfair treatment of its minorities; a thin veneer of secularism hiding an ugly face of Hindu majoritarianism. 

Sure Modi is “seen” and “viewed” as all these things in just the same way that I “see” and “view” Rohit Pradhan as a dimwit who can’t make a reasoned argument; in the same way that I “see” and “view” Rohit Pradhan as a Hindu hater and in the same way that I “see” and “view” Rohit Pradhan as someone filled with baseless hatred against Narendra Modi who has appeased no caste or community or sect so far, and in the same way that Rohit Pradhan’s Institution is emblematic of Think Tanks’ misleading representation of their stated goals; a thin veneer of Indian National Interest hiding an ugly face of Muslim appeasement. 

And then in the very next line, he says:

Now, it would be unfair to blame Modi entirely for this troubling state of affairs.

In which case, why does Rohit Pradhan characterize him as emblematic of Hindu majoritarianism? Does Rohit Pradhan even know what real Hindu majoritarianism would entail? It would entail the fair and even sympathetic treatment of Muslims by Hindu kings—even the iconic Krishnadevaraya  had a copy of the Koran kept next to his throne as a symbol proclaiming that he treated Islam with equal respect. Like him, almost every Hindu king gave grants to and allowed Muslims to build mosques and practice their faith without fear. And as things stand, Muslims in Gujarat are much better off compared to Muslims in other states. Rohit Pradhan also needs to show us evidence of exactly one riot or criminal act against Muslims under Modi’s decade-long dispensation. Just one. (Tehelka’s doctored reports and fake sting ops don’t count.) And this in a state notorious for Hindu-Muslim riots, all of them under Congress rule. Indeed, a Vastanvi heaping praise on Modi says a lot.

This then seems to be the ire of the likes of Rohit Pradhan. Under the guise of criticizing an imaginary threat of “ugly” Hindu majoritarianism, they want Muslims to be mollycoddled; they want Muslims to be treated as second class citizens instead of as equals who can compete on the strength of their merit; they want Muslims to be afraid of Hindus and they want special privileges for Muslims because they’re minorities—aren’t minorities human beings?; they want the Indian state to tax the majority to subsidize the minorities; they want the Indian state to privilege one group of people at the expense of the other based not on reason or need but religion. Why?

The hint to the answer lies in Rohit Pradhan and his Institution’s support for the worst elements of Muslim separatism, with the Owaisi brothers leading the charge. In his own words:

There is a real danger of Muslim dissatisfaction with the Indian democracy and Modi’s accession would only further exacerbate it.

These selfsame words emerged more violently from the mouth of Akbaruddin Owaisi a few weeks ago in a different language. That is the only difference. And herein lies yet another Rohit Pradhanesque contradiction. Elsewhere he says it’s unfair to demand perfection from only Modi, that Modi’s critics are biased, that no other politician has received such severe scrutiny as Modi has, and that it’s unfair to blame only Modi for “this troubling state of affairs.” Given all this, why and how would only Modi’s “accession further exacerbate this state of affairs (sic)?” Of course, Pradhan doesn’t bother answering such trivialities given how lustily he defends Akbaruddin Owaisi and other Muslim separatists:

…it is this environment of grievance and scepticism which promotes the rise of sectarian Muslim parties like the Assam United Democratic Front and Peace Party perhaps reaching its apogee in Akbaruddin Owaisi’s alleged hate speech at Nirmal…The average Indian Muslim may oppose some of Owaisi’s more vitriolic comments but would agree enthusiastically with his litany of complaints against the Indian state.

“This” environment formed the basis of the Muslim League’s call to partition India. “This” environment isn’t unique to India. It is occurring across Europe where entire landscapes have been transformed into violent Muslim-only ghettos, where native people have become aliens in their own land, and where like India, Muslim-appeasing spineless politicians have wetted their pants in face of the threat of brute violence, and where people like Geert Wilders are subjected to inquisition for speaking the truth. It’s not as if Rohit Pradhan is unaware of all this. Yet the fact that, despite this, he terms Akbaruddin’s naked hate speech as “alleged” says a lot about Rohit Pradhan’s perversely communal mindset. People like Rohit Pradhan are Owaisi-enablers. Barely 10 minutes into the speech, Akbaruddin oozes hatred against Hindus, against India, against Hindu Gods and Goddesses, against everything Hindus revere and needless to say, against Narendra Modi. Is this why Rohit Pradhan jumps in to defend Owaisi? Rohit Pradhan has the moral responsibility to explain how all of this—recorded live—is merely “alleged.”

If Rohit Pradhan is honest, he would have made the full disclosure that Takshashila Institution of which he is a Fellow, once courted Asaduddin Owaisi, the elder brother of Akbaruddin Owaisi. Indeed, the founder of this Institution boasted of a “stimulating exchange of idea with MP Asaduddin Owaisi, over a fine Hyderabadi dinner.”

The Takshashila Institution calls itself an independent and non-partisan body which pursues the Indian national interest unambiguously. It’s clear to anybody who has traced its evolution that today it has been reduced to something that’s slightly better than the Congress party’s and by extension, the English media’s mouthpiece. From an ill-informed bashing of the mythical terror of Hindutva to whitewashing Islam’s historical atrocities on India to glossing over the violence wrought by illegal Bangladeshi immigration to defending Government clampdowns on free speech to apologizing for vile separatists like the Owaisi brothers, the Takshashila Institution has simply echoed the Congress party’s line. Entirely “non-partisan” positions. And given this record, one wonders how Rohit Pradhan, a Fellow of this Institution, has the gumption to give a lecture in morality and scruples to a constitutionally elected Chief Minister. Don’t you have any shame or decency, Rohit Pradhan?

But there’s worse.

…former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may not have enjoyed widespread support among Muslims but was not treated as an enemy either. Call it what you will, but it is this ‘Muslim veto’  which makes Modi unacceptable as India’s next leader.

Rohit Pradhan again echoes His Master Akbaruddin Owaisi’s Voice. Recall Owaisi’s speech, his hate-filled call for “25 Crore Muslims of India” to unite and show the Hindus this selfsame “Muslim veto.” Except that his language is unprintable. Pradhan’s line taken independently of Owaisi’s speech is still alarming. In effect, he’s saying that unless one—Modi in this case—appeases Muslims, he can’t become India’s next Prime Minister. Why does Rohit Pradhan want India to remain hostage to his own vile coinage of a “Muslim veto (sic)?” How does it serve the Indian National Interest that his Institution claims it pursues? But then it’s entirely consistent with Pradhan’s twisted worldview—Narendra Modi is perhaps the only politician who has appeased no constituency, who has transcended vote banks. But Rohit Pradhan wants him to genuflect before the Muslim vote bank. Why? 

There’s still worse.

Even if the promise of a high Modi-led growth is accepted at its face value, it is simply not worth risking the fraying of India’s multiple fault lines. 

And here lies exposed yet another facet of the hypocrisy of both Rohit Pradhan and the Institution he is a Fellow of. The Takshashila Institution and its founder are big advocates of free market capitalism and are vocally against Governmental interference in business. And here’s a Chief Minister whose refrain happens to be Minimum Government, maximum governance, a slogan which is accompanied by a record of impressive achievements both in development and governance. And Rohit Pradhan argues against it. Why?

But what Rohit Pradhan is really saying is this: it’s okay if the Indian people are impoverished by a band of daylight robbers, it’s okay if they go back to the Socialist Seventies of Severe Shortages, it’s okay if their freedoms are trampled upon, it’s okay if tens of thousands of illegal immigrants imperil both safety and economy…indeed any atrocity and any Government-made calamity is okay but Narendra Modi shouldn’t become the Prime Minister. That then it the crux of Rohit Pradhan’s poisonous piece.

How can you face yourself in the mirror, Rohit Pradhan?

127 comments for “Rohit Setalvad Owaisi Pradhan’s Perverse Communalism

  1. Pratik
    March 25, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    amazing article sandeep … please keep up the good work

  2. Jooske
    March 21, 2013 at 5:08 PM

    “This then seems…Why?”

    Sandeep. this is one the best paragraphs in all your posts.

    Very well said.

  3. Jooske
    March 21, 2013 at 5:04 PM

    “This then seems to be the ire of the likes of Rohit Pradhan. Under the guise of criticizing an imaginary threat of “ugly” Hindu majoritarianism, they want Muslims to be mollycoddled; they want Muslims to be treated as second class citizens instead of as equals who can compete on the strength of their merit; they want Muslims to be afraid of Hindus and they want special privileges for Muslims because they’re minorities—aren’t minorities human beings?; they want the Indian state to tax the majority to subsidize the minorities; they want the Indian state to privilege one group of people at the expense of the other based not on reason or need but religion. Why? “”

    Sandeep,I would like to say this is one one of your best paragraphs in all your posts.

    Very well put.

  4. som
    March 20, 2013 at 7:03 PM

    The recurring instances of terror, the latest in Hyderabad, are a matter of grave concern for public safety in India. Terror adds an extra dimension to the already insecure life of the common man, particularly in busy metros and other terror hotspots. While the political class assures its security with money lavishly spent from the public exchequer, the common man is left to his own fate; worse, he can’t even defend himself against any potential threats.

  5. Aman
    March 6, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    Sandeep, you don’t have a rightist-tilt. You’re about to fall off the religious right-wing precipice man!
    Right of centre may be acceptable but one must caution you that you are beginning to come across as those bloggers who support, justify or worship the likes of bin laden.
    Careful mate.
    You may not want to admit it to yourself but Rohit Pradhan, Salil Tripathi et al are right in their criticism of modi. modi is guilty of all the things that he’s accused of.

  6. Sanyal
    March 1, 2013 at 3:22 AM

    Now Rohit Pradhan wouldn’t be the same dolt who, along with that ‘Pragmatic Euphony’ chappie, accused Indian soldiers of cowardice and dereliction of duty during the 26/11 attacks, would he?

  7. SB
    February 26, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    @Red Devil
    “… most people in India support Modi as well and want him as India’s next prime minister.”

    I hope 2014 sees a destruction of the Italian dynasty and it’s chamchas in India.

  8. SB
    February 26, 2013 at 2:41 PM

    Too bad the people who died in Hyderabad blasts won’t get multiple page edits in “The (C)Hindu”. They, after all, are not worth the sympathy reserved for Afzal Guru.

    If I were wiser and older, I would have said that the last days of the Roman empire probably looked like this.

  9. February 26, 2013 at 12:22 PM

    Anyway, here goes : My sincere advise to Shri. Amarshiam, a friend of humanity and a true hindu.

    “Yaar Amarshiam….I support Narendra Modi, and I support him with all my heart. And if one goes by the routine nationwide opinion polls carried out by India’s most reputed pollsters in India’s top magazines and news channels, most people in India support Modi as well and want him as India’s next prime minister. If you dont like that. Tough luck. Slit your wrist or something. Good luck.”

  10. February 26, 2013 at 12:18 PM

    Dear Amarshiam… do you want me to repeat my sincere advise to you ?


  11. amarshiam
    February 26, 2013 at 4:09 AM


    In India people who have money or power (either of which generally equates to the same thing), they can get away with all sorts of things.

    To arrive at a position where you have money and power is also hard and in many instances requires greasing the right palms, working the system, and compromising on integrity. It’s very hard for an honest man to get rich or even survive in India. There was a time in some cities when you couldn’t even pay your property tax! Though some of that is changing now.

    And when someone does happen to go up against someone with power they should expect to lose their jobs, have cases put up against them, and if they’re very unlucky they might even lose their lives.

    Which makes what these people (Bhatt Sharma Kumar etc.) did, all the more heroic. They were not in positions of power in comparison to the people they were going up against. And in those situations you only stand to lose and not to gain. So why do it?

    Your family will be threatened, you will be threatened, you’ll lose your job, you’ll spend all your money in court trying to defend yourself… all for what?

    All because you won’t stand by and watch people lie and fake their way out of some of the most horrendous crimes ever committed on Indian soil.

    So what was Nambinarayanan upto to have all those fake cases put up against him? He must have rubbed someone the wrong way. I am unaware of the story please enlighten. The CD that Kumar released. I hope it got into the right hands and something comes of it.

  12. JK
    February 25, 2013 at 10:35 PM

    What is common between Bhatt, Rahul Sharma and Sree Kumar..

    That RB Sreekumar, then in the IB, was the kingpin, in putting the screws on the ISRO scientist Nambinarayanan. Now this scientist has been acquitted of all charges…

    Remember he is the knight in shining armor, who is ALWAYS right, and who will maintain a “register” of all illegal verbal orders he gets from his superiors, to keep his personal yard arm clear.

    So are our HERO Bhatt and Sharma…

  13. amarshiam
    February 25, 2013 at 9:48 PM

    I keep seeing people comment “what about Godhra? what about Godhra?”…

    Whenever we bring up Godhra as “cause”, we are not being honest. If you want to understand the precursor events read the human rights watch paper. I’ve already posted a link to it earlier and it does cover Godhra in detail as well as everything that happened after Godhra.

    The fact is that massacres on the scale at which they took place could not have taken place without a great deal of planning and coordination.

    Now you can have a “riot” start and continue without organisation, and you just *might* be able to find some sort of excuse for that in saying it was “just a reaction”. [Still no excuse in my book.]

    But when you have official involvement with officials organising large numbers of people, getting names and addresses from government computers, organising transportation, weapons, contacting police and requesting that they do not intervene etc, hiring lawyers, you lose that as an option.

    It’s not a reaction any longer. It’s not something that just happened. It’s not a riot.

    It’s cold and pre-meditated.

    It’s organised.

    It’s a pogrom.

    No longer can you say, it was just a reaction and ask “what about Godhra wasn’t that the cause?”.

    Deception is a skill. It’s sometimes necessary and sometimes nefarious.

    Many of us use it on ourselves. We deceive ourselves.

    This is usually to cover up an act and the consequences to us and our beliefs in a group/organisation or set of beliefs.

    And to be able to go on with life and even though we know great wrongs have been committed by them or in their name.

    Desperate to legitimize actions or to continue to deny they took place but when you have bodies piling up what can you do?

    Remember the words “Jai Shree Raam”. They no longer mean what we always thought they meant.

    Now they’re the blood curdling cry of a half crazed hindu fanatic as he cuts a helpless pregnant woman to pieces and then raises her unborn fetus on the end of his sword. That is what “Jai Shree Ram” signifies from now. Remember that. Remember that these people have committed evil acts in the name of our religion. They are not Hindus. They are pseudo-Hindus and they have no right to be using these words.

  14. nash
    February 25, 2013 at 8:43 PM


    Discussion on this with me it is always about the train burning.It becomes so irritating for the other person they come around and it centres around that issue only.I picked this reasoning from Loneranger.Well you had your fun when he was around here.

  15. Anand
    February 25, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    It’s funny how all the media discussions, reports interviews and debates about the Godhra episode start with the riots. Wonder why no one ever talks about the burning of the train coach which triggered the riots.
    This gives people the faulty perspective that the Riots were the initial action and the Gujarat Government response to the riots was the reaction. Weren’t the riots themselves a reaction to the burning of the train? I don’t consider myself very well-informed but it does seem that the general media discussion and depiction is even less informed than ordinary citizens.

  16. nash
    February 24, 2013 at 7:10 PM


    Thanks for the reply,but i do not see a solution for the troll to waste basket.May be i was vague or my hint was not sufficient.So i will go open and let me see if you are with it.
    i notice the commenters do take considerable pride in the answers they put here to the trolls.I have to confess i like these replies very much,it is so informative and free.
    So the regular readers should engage with the commenters and continue with the insane questions and gradually veer it towards sense.They can also engage with the troll to ask for more precise definitions.It is definitions that can bring arguments to some comfortable and debatable region.
    Do consider this option and it may not put us in such hand wringing.

  17. SB
    February 24, 2013 at 12:40 PM


    Unfortunately, as in real life, goons, thugs and trolls make the most noise and frame the entire debate around false premises. The whole issue is lost in inanities and trivialities and it seems they do the maximum damage to our intellectual lives.

    One can draw an analogy between such people and say loud and unruly people in a music concert or a serious movie. The whole atmosphere becomes noxious and all seriousness is lost.

    There is an argument to be made for free speech but one shouldn’t make a fetish out of it. Sometimes unruly brats who need to be hushed and sent somewhere else when adults are talking.

  18. nash
    February 24, 2013 at 7:55 AM


    Please read this and take action.

    Ensure these Commenters Put a minimum number of comments in every article Sandeep puts up.

    Here is the list Amit, Ava, G,moonclan ,neelkanth,Raj,Ranvir, vv,this is just top of my mind and update when i recall others.

  19. rajkamal
    February 24, 2013 at 2:22 AM

    i live the way sandeep’s followers love his ad hominem arguments

  20. SB
    February 23, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Here’s a suggestion for all commenters. Please read this slowly and carefully:

  21. Amit
    February 23, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    “If ever someone misconstrues my criticism of an ideology with animosity against a group or a person, it reveals at best a reading comprehension problem and at worst guilt associated with a hidden prejudice of the reader against the group I am accused of opposing.

    See? Others can also use the bold tag. 😉

  22. SB
    February 23, 2013 at 10:44 PM

    I have a serious suggestion for Sandeep which I’ve made before. I he realize doesn’t have the time for it but moderating the comments will prevent people from spending 90% of their time responding to trolls and instead focus on reading his articles instead.

  23. amarshiam
    February 23, 2013 at 8:18 PM

    Malhar, All,

    So you want to believe the people in those videos are innocent?

    You have 700+ bodies turn up. More turning up in mass graves every now and then.

    You have the people who say they did it, on video saying how they did in very graphic detail matching witness accounts of how things happened – usage of cylinders, swords, chopping peoples arms and legs off, cutting a pregnant woman’s stomach, not sparing the unborn baby even… then burning them while they’re all still alive… all of this is described on video, in witness statements and this has put (a very few of the thousands who took part) these people away for life.

    These people describe their acts with glee relishing every moment. Swearing they should have done more of it if they had been given more time.

    And now after all this:

    Some of you want to justify acts of atrocity in response to atrocity. Like it justifies in any way the rapes and massacres of innocents???

    Others want to discredit Tehelka like it’ll make all those videos false somehow.

    While some others want to justify violent genocidal practices as a method to achieve Hindutva goals!

    ALL this on a blog which purports to show us (among other things) the moral and intellectual superiority of Hinduism !!!

    Isn’t there a contradiction of epic proportions in there? Is not it blaringly obvious to anyone here????

    You can pretend all you like but deep down inside all of you know that this is all a big farce.

    That you’re white washing a crime, trying to rationalize a viewpoint that would lead to genocide and sitting around with your heads in the sand blaming people of other religions while the rest of the country goes to the dogs. And did I forget to mention that you’re all pseudo-Hindus to boot?

    No it’s not because of the Muslims. It’s not because of the Christians. It’s not because of the Hindus.

    It’s because of ALL of you – specifically [only] the people from all the religions who can’t get the simple concepts I put into the previous comment into their heads.

    Irrespective of your definition of “religion”. It might encompass more philosophical faiths, it might encompass sects, or cults, the fact of the matter is that across the board, people who take violent retributive action in the form of atrocities committed against innocents justify their atrocities by saying – “But they did more”, “but they started it”, “but they are to blame” and do not take responsibility for their actions. “Let them vent their anger” being the famous words used to allow it to continue by people in positions of power.

    This is the key problem that needs to be faced head on. Is it alright to perpetuate the cycle of violence and atrocities against innocent with more atrocities against innocents? This question applies to all people of all faiths of all sects of all cults and of all nationalities irrespective of your definition of the word ‘religion’.

    The answer to this question can feed into a strategy to break the cycle of violence but there are many other things which need to feed into this.

    On a second note, the other important area which also needs to addressed is the zeal with which all people (who have not thought about it) generalise characteristics of other people and assume to know them based only on their affiliation to a group.

    This is another bigger umbrella problem, related to violent acts of retribution but also to bigotry in all it’s forms. Without this, it would not be possible for people to justify acts against people unrelated to the perpetrators of previous acts of violence.

  24. Malhar
    February 23, 2013 at 4:03 PM

    @amarshiam, Don’t know why your love for Tehelka has faded after itachi had posted an analysis of the tehelka links. What do you think that the tapes had not been analysed by the judiciary? Well, it was. On closer scrunity it was found to be rubbish. And, the HRW report was based on “hard facts” like Arundhati Roy’s Outlook article. This was the same comittee (along with others) which had swollowed John Dayal’s claim of 4 nuns raped by Hindu Fundamentalists, later one rapist was found to be Xtian Himself. In any case, SIT report is more reliable than HRW report.

  25. SB
    February 23, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    Irving Kristol, the father of neoconservatism is famous for his quotation:
    “A neoconservative is a liberal who has been mugged by reality.”

    Pseudo-seculars and their ideological brothers, which include various shades of “liberals” in India, would find no better cure for their disease than real life interactions and serious dialogue with Muslims on the nature and destiny of Islam. I had once compiled a list of questions that we must be prepared to ask for Muslims which we think we know the answer to, such as: Do you think, in your Allah’s eyes, a good Hindu has any merit ?

    This simple exercise will make many of these idiots re-think their worldview and assumptions. But knowing human nature, this will not happen. People of a certain disposition have an unending capacity for self-delusion.

    We must really stop in our tracks and ask ourselves how can there be any co-existence with a group whose basic ideology considers non-believers as “worse than animals” (direct Qur’an quote).

  26. S
    February 23, 2013 at 4:32 AM

    Outlook is a church owned publication and writes propaganda.

  27. ItAcHi
    February 23, 2013 at 1:23 AM

    Has anyone seen Kai Po Che? I saw it in a packed Gujarati theatre just now. BJP = monsters brainwashing inncoents into rioting.

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