FIR against Uttarakhand YouTuber who harassed two Jain monks; he apologises - Hindustan Times
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FIR against Uttarakhand YouTuber who harassed two Jain monks; he apologises

May 28, 2024 04:41 PM IST

A first information report (FIR) was registered against Suraj Singh Pharswan of Ratgaon village in Tharali block of Chamoli district

DEHRADUN: A YouTuber in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district was on Monday booked for hate speech by the state’s special task force (STF) after he allegedly pestered two Digambar Jain monks for not wearing clothes, police said on Tuesday.

YouTuber Suraj Pharswan later apologised for his conduct. (Screengrab)
YouTuber Suraj Pharswan later apologised for his conduct. (Screengrab)

A first information report (FIR) was registered against Suraj Singh Pharswan of Ratgaon village in Tharali block of Chamoli district, following orders by chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami after a short video clip of his interaction with the two monks went viral.

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The monks in Digambara (Sanskrit for sky-clad) sect of Jainism do not wear clothes — a symbol of shunning worldly possessions and indifference to earthly emotions such as shame.

Director general of police (DGP) Abhinav Kumar said he learnt about the video on Monday afternoon, “in which objectionable comments have been made about our Digambar Jain sect, their feelings and beliefs have been hurt. I handed over the matter to a special task force and asked them to inquire. It came to light that a local resident made the video in the Tottaghati area under Devprayag police station in Tehri Garhwal district. He has been identified. I asked the STF to register the FIR and transfer it to Tehri”.

Suraj Singh Pharswan has been booked under sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups), 295-A ( deliberate acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and 67-A (publishing or transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act) of the Information Technology Act at Devprayag police station in Tehri Garhwal.

After a controversy erupted over his conduct, Pharswan apologised for his conduct, stressing that his intention wasn’t to hurt anybody’s religious sentiments and that he was only seeking to educate himself about the practices. But he conceded that his approach was flawed.

Additional superintendent of police, Tehri, JR Joshi said: “We took cognisance of the video in which the accused was seen repeatedly asking the Jain monks why they were walking around without clothes. We registered a case against him. Our investigation into the matter. We have been trying to ascertain the identities of the Jain monks to record their statements.”

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