Seventy-six advocates of the Supreme Court on Sunday wrote to Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, asking him to take suo motu cognisance of the provocative speeches against Muslims at religious events held in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city and Delhi, Live Law reported.
Last week, multiple videos emerged of Hindutva group members and seers calling for violence against Muslims during a “dharam sansad”, or a religious parliament, held in Haridwar city between December 17 and December 19. The speakers at the event asked Hindus to buy weapons to commit genocide against Muslims.
The event in Delhi was organised by Hindu Yuva Vahini. At the gathering, Suresh Chavhanke, the editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News, was seen administering an oath to a group of people to “die for and kill” to make India a “Hindu rashtra” or a Hindu nation.
In the letter sent on Sunday, the advocates told the chief justice of India that calls for an “ethnic cleansing” were made at the two events.
“The aforementioned events and the speeches delivered during the same are not mere hate speeches but amount to an open call for murder of an entire community,” the letter read.
The speeches of the speakers, the advocates said, posed a “grave threat not just to the unity and integrity of our country but also endanger the lives of millions of Muslim citizens”.
The lawyers, in the letter, hoped for Chief Justice Ramana to take swift action in his capacity as the head of the judiciary.
The advocates sought action against the guilty under Indian Penal Code Sections 120B (punishment of criminal conspiracy), 121A (conspiracy to commit offences related to waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the government of India), 153A (promoting enmity).
They noted that action should also be taken under Indian Penal Code Sections 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national-integration), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or such beliefs) and 298 (uttering, words, etc, with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person).
A first information report filed on December 23 named just one person – former Shia Waqf board chief Jitendra Narayan Tyagi. He had changed his name from Wasim Rizvi after converting to Hinduism on December 6.
Three days after the FIR was filed, the Uttarakhand Police added the names of Sadhvi Annapurna, also known as Pooja Shakun Pandey, and priest Dharamdas Maharaj. Annapurna is the general secretary of the Hindutva organisation, Hindu Mahasabha.
Sadhvi Annapurna repeated the call for genocide: “If you want to finish off their population then we are ready to kill them,” she can be heard saying in a video. “Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakh of them, then we will be victorious.”
The other accused, Dharamdas Maharaj, called for the assassination of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “following in the footsteps of Nathuram Godse [Gandhi’s assassin]”. He made the comments while referring to Singh’s 2006 statement in Parliament, saying that minorities must have the first claim on resources of the country.
No arrests have been made in the case so far even as Opposition leaders, Muslim organisations and eminent citizens have questioned the government inaction.