The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and Tripura government on a plea seeking an inquiry by a special investigation team into violence against Muslims in the state and the lack of police action, Live Law reported.
A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and AS Bopanna was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Ehtesham Hashmi, who is one of the authors of the fact-finding report on Tripura violence, “Humanity Under Attack in Tripura” that was released on November 2.
Violence had erupted in Tripura on October 26 during a protest held by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad against attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh. The members of the organisation had allegedly vandalised mosques and ransacked shops and homes of Muslims.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the petitioner, told the Supreme Court on Monday that the government and the police had not taken enough measures to prevent “hate crimes” that took place in Tripura, according to Bar and Bench.
“They [police] are not registering FIRs [first information report], they sent [Section] 41A notices to lawyers who worked on the fact-finding report and charged journalists under UAPA [Unlawful Activities Prevention Act],” Bhushan said.
Section 41 of the Criminal Procedure Code allows the police to arrest a person without an order from a magistrate or a warrant. Section 41A gives an officer the power to issue a notice to a person – against whom a complaint is filed – asking them to appear before the police.
Bhushan said that two lawyers, Mukesh Kumar and Ansar Indori, who had also contributed to the petitioner’s fact-finding report on Tripura violence, had received notices under section 41A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The fact-finding report had stated that the violence had erupted because of the “irresponsibility of the administration, along with extremist organisations and the vested interests of ambitious politicians”. The report added that 12 mosques, nine shops and three houses of Muslims were damaged, according to Bar and Bench.
The two lawyer’s social media posts, statements and the report were blamed for “promoting enmity between religious groups as well as provoking people of different religious communities to commit a breach of peace”.
Kumar, Indori and 100 other people, including journalists, were also charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and sections of the Indian Penal Code related to promoting disharmony, forgery, intentional insult and criminal conspiracy.