Hate speech case against Hindutva body after Supreme Court ire

In the second affidavit filed on Saturday evening, the Delhi Police made a drastic reversal from its previous stand to state that an FIR has been registered on May 4 under charges relating to hate speech and promoting disharmony between communities.
The court will hear the case next on May 9.
The court will hear the case next on May 9.
Updated on May 08, 2022 05:34 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

 The Delhi Police have registered a first information report (FIR) for alleged hate speeches delivered at the Hindu Yuva Vahini event in December, days after the Supreme Court pulled up the Capital’s police force for not applying its mind properly before rejecting the charges.

In the second affidavit filed on Saturday evening, the Delhi Police made a drastic reversal from its previous stand to state that an FIR has been registered on May 4 under charges relating to hate speech and promoting disharmony between communities. The FIR was lodged at Okhla Industrial Area police station, said the affidavit, even as it did not disclose name of any person who has been made an accused in the FIR.

The first affidavit filed by the police last month said that investigation of the video clips of the Hindi Yuva Vahini event did not disclose any hate words against Muslims and “nothing was said or done which could create an environment of paranoia amongst any religion.”

On April 22, when a bench led by justice AM Khanwilkar took up the first affidavit of Delhi Police, it asked additional solicitor general (ASG) KM Nataraj, who was representing Delhi Police, if the officer filing the affidavit understood the nuances and other aspects of taking such a stand before the highest court in the land.

“We hope this officer, being a senior officer, understands the nuances and other aspects of this affidavit? Is the officer accepting the contents of the (enquiry) report as correct or needs to have a relook at the entire matter?” the bench asked the ASG on April 22, prompting the law officer to concede that the department will file a “better” affidavit.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna high court judge Anjana Prakash, drawing the top court’s attention to the spate of hate speeches at religious conclaves being held in various parts of the country.

The petition was filed in January after the two separate events were organised at Delhi and Haridwar. The event in Haridwar, held from December 17 to 19, was organised by Yati Narsinghanand, a religious leader who has been accused in the past of inciting violence with his incendiary speeches.

The proclamations made by various religious leaders at the event, the petition maintained, were in breach of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court in its judgments in 2018 and 2019 whereby states were obligated to appoint nodal officers to curb hate speeches and act immediately against such offenders.

After several controversial videos from the event that were circulated on social media triggered outrage, the Uttarakhand police registered a first information report (FIR) against some leaders present at the event, including Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi, formerly known as Waseem Rizvi, for allegedly giving a “provocative speech” against “a particular religion” (Islam) at the Dharma Sansad. Both were arrested in connection to the FIR relating to the Dharma Sansad. While Narsinghanand was granted bail in February, Tyagi (Rizvi) remains incarcerated.

Urging the court to set up a special investigation team to probe the incident, the petition said that the speeches made at the Sansad posed a grave threat not just to the unity and integrity of the country but also endangered the lives of millions of Muslim citizens.

Observing that state authorities are “duty bound” to stop hate speeches at religious events, the Supreme Court on April 26 directed the Uttarakhand government to ensure that no hate speeches are delivered at the Dharma Sansad planned to be held in Roorkee a day later. The SC also ordered the Himachal Pradesh government to put on record the measures adopted by the state when the Dharma Sansad was announced to be held in Una between April 17 and 19.

The court will hear the case next on May 9.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2022