Haridwar hate speech case: SC issues notice to Uttarakhand government, seeks reply in ten days
The court allowed the petitioners to approach the police in places where ‘dharam sansad’ events were being organised.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Uttarakhand government asking for its response to a petition seeking action against hate speeches at a conclave held in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city last month, Bar and Bench reported.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana asked the state government to reply within 10 days.
At a “dharam sansad”, or religious parliament, held in Haridwar between December 17 and December 19, Hindutva supremacists had called upon Hindus to buy weapons to commit genocide against Muslims.
Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, on Wednesday demanded that the case be heard next on January 17. He told the court that such events are also being organised in other parts of the country, including one at Aligarh in Uttar Pradesh on January 23, according to Live Law.
“They [dharam sansads] are going to happen in states where the process of elections is going on,” Sibal said. “No arrests have happened, the country’s atmosphere will be vitiated, its contrary to what this Republic stands for, its ethos and values we cherish. This is a clear incitement to violence.”
The court said that it will not hear the case on January 17, but allowed the petitioners to the police in places where such events are being held.
The court also asked if a separate bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar was hearing similar matters. In response, the counsel for the petitioners said that the bench headed by Justice Khanwilkar had transferred the cases to the one headed by the chief justice.
The petition has been filed by former Patna High Court judge Anjana Prakash and journalist Qurban Ali, according to The Hindu.
On Monday, the Supreme Court had agreed to hear the petition. Sibal had then said that the slogan of the country appeared to have changed from “Satyamev Jayate [truth alone prevails]” to “Shastramev Jayate [weapons alone prevail]”.
The petition states that the speeches made during the event in Haridwar constitute extreme hate speech and incite the targeted killings of Muslims, Bar and Bench reported.
The petitioners have also referred to a video of a police officer and Hindutva leaders named as accused persons in the case laughing about being “unbiased” in the matter. The video shows Yati Nargsinghanand Saraswati, who was among the persons who made provocative speeches, joking that the police officer was on the side of the accused persons.
The petition states that the video shows that the police authorities are “hand in glove with the perpetrators of communal hate”.
The petitioners have sought an impartial inquiry by a special investigation team into the hate speeches.
Police action in the case
Two first information reports have been filed in the case so far.
The first FIR was filed on December 23 and had named just former Shia Waqf Board chief Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, who recently converted to Hinduism and changed his name from Wasim Rizvi.
On December 26, the Uttarakhand Police added the names of Annapurna, also known as Pooja Shakun Pandey, and priest Dharamdas Maharaj to the FIR. Annapurna is the general secretary of Hindutva organisation Hindu Mahasabha. On January 1, the names of Saraswati and seer Sagar Sindhu Maharaj were added in the FIR.
On January 2, a second first information report was filed against 10 persons, including Giri and Maharaj. The other accused persons named in the FIR are event organisers Dharamdas, Parmananda, Annapurna, Anand Swaroop, Ashwini Upadhyay, Suresh Chahwan and Prabodhanand Giri and Tyagi.