10 days after FIR, SIT set up for ‘fair and unbiased’ probe in Haridwar speeches
Haridwar hate speeches: The Uttarakhand Police said a five-member SIT led by a superintendent of police (SP) has been formed “for a fair and unbiased probe” into the December 23 FIR registered for hate speeches at the Dharma Sansad event in Haridwar.
DEHRADUN: Ten days after filing a criminal case over hate speeches delivered at Haridwar’s Dharma Sansad, the Uttarakhand Police on Sunday formed a five-member special investigation team (SIT) to probe the case.
The move comes a day after the Uttarakhand director general of police Ashok Kumar confirmed that investigators have added two more names, Yati Narsinghanand and Sagar Sindhu Maharaj, to the list of accused in the case. The first information report (FIR) registered on December 23 initially listed only one accused, Jitendra Narayan Tyagi formerly Waseem Rizwi. Later, two more names, Annapurna Maa alias Pooja Shakun Pandey, and Dharamdas Maharaj, a general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha, were added.
Garhwal range deputy inspector general Karan Singh Nagnyal said a five-member SIT has been formed “for a fair and unbiased probe”.
“The SIT will be led by a superintendent of police (SP), assisted by an additional SP, one inspector and two sub-inspectors. The case which was till date investigated by the Haridwar Kotwali police will now be handed over to this newly formed SIT. All necessary legal action will be taken by the police against those found accused in the investigation,” said Nagnyal.
Police this week added section 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code (insulting a religion with deliberate and malicious acts) to the FIR. which earlier only cited section 153 (a) of IPC (promoting disharmony, enmity or feelings of hatred).
The decision to assign a special team to probe the politically sensitive case comes against the backdrop of criticism that the police probe was moving too slowly. On Friday, senior lawyer Kartikeya Gupta said the police should have been “very very active” in probing the case relating to communal issues “but here it seems to be the opposite”.
Uttarakhand police chief Ashok Kumar, however, countered this view, insisting that police are “taking all necessary action” in the case.
The event where hate speeches were made targeting minorities was held from December 17-19 in Haridwar.
Police registered a case on December 23 only after videos of hate speeches by the participants emerged on social media on December 22, causing furore among netizens who asked the Uttarakhand government to take action. The police then registered a case and assigned the investigation to a sub-inspector rank police officer of Haridwar’s Kotwali police station.