Haridwar hate speech: Uttarakhand cops file case

Published on Dec 24, 2021 04:22 AM IST
The move came after video clips of speeches at the Dharma Sansad event, held between December 17 and 19, circulated widely on social media and sparked widespread criticism.
Screengrab from videos of 3-day Dharma Sansad which are now viral on social media. 
Screengrab from videos of 3-day Dharma Sansad which are now viral on social media. 
By, Hindustan Times, Haridwar/dehradun

Uttarakhand Police filed a criminal case on Thursday over a controversial religious event held in Haridwar last week where speakers allegedly made hate speeches and called for violence against Muslims and Christians.

Police said a case was filed under section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) against Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, the former chief of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf board who was earlier known as Waseem Rizvi, and unnamed people.

“Taking into account videos going viral on social media that show provocative and hate speeches against particular religions, a case has been filed in Kotwali Haridwar under section 153A against Waseem Rizvi, or Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, and others,” said the tweet.

The move came after video clips of speeches at the Dharma Sansad event, held between December 17 and 19, circulated widely on social media and sparked widespread criticism. HT could not independently verify the authenticity of these clips.

The clips purportedly showed one of the speakers saying that he wished to become Nathuram Godse, who assassinated MK Gandhi, and shoot former prime minister Manmohan Singh. In another clip, another participant could purportedly be heard warning the Haridwar administration that hotels and establishments holding Christmas celebrations will be vandalised. A third clip purportedly showed the speaker issuing threats of violence against Muslims.

Rakinder Singh, in charge of the police station in Kotwali Haridwar, said the case was based on the complaint lodged by Gulbahar Khan, a man from Jwalapur in Haridwar district.

“We have started investigating the matter in which provocative statements were made against a particular religion,” he said, refusing to specify if more people were named in the FIR, or how many people were mentioned in the original complaint.

Tyagi converted to Hinduism from Islam earlier this month.

“Police will ensure of maintenance of law and order with adequate security so Christmas celebrations can be held,” said SP (city), Swatantra Kumar.

Some seers rejected the charges of hate speech. Mahamandaleshwar Swami Prabodhanand Giri said that the Dharam Sansad raised issues of social malpractices, casteism and social harmony. “We called on for strengthening Sanatan Dharm and unity among Hindus. Is that anti-religious?” asked Giri.

Another seer, Mahant Lokesh Das, said the event called for the protection of “sanatan dharm” and the establishment of India as a Hindu nation but did not call for violence against those from other communities.

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