Yati Narsinghanand Giri, accused in Haridwar hate speech case, arrested by Uttarakhand Police
But the police said Giri was arrested in a separate case to do with his derogatory remarks against women.
The Uttarakhand Police on Saturday arrested seer Yati Narsinghanand Giri, one of the accused persons in the Haridwar hate speech case, ANI reported.
Giri was allegedly one of the organisers of a “dharam sansad”, or a religious parliament, held in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city between December 17 and December 19, during which Hindutva group members and seers had called for violence against Muslims. The speakers at the event had asked Hindus to buy weapons to commit genocide against Muslims.
Superintendent of Police, Haridwar (City) Swatantra Kumar confirmed that Giri has been arrested by the Haridwar police, The Indian Express. Kumar said that the seer was taken to the Kotwali police station, after which he was being sent to a hospital.
The circle officer, Haridwar city, said that Giri has been placed under arrest “in connection with a case pertaining to derogatory remarks against women”, ANI reported. The officer said two to three separate cases have been registered against the seer.
Yati Narsinghanand has been issued a notice in the hate speech case, an unidentified police official told NDTV. “He will be remanded for the hate speech case too, the procedure is on,” the officer reportedly said. “We will include the hate speech case details also in the remand application.”
Late on Saturday, supporters of the seer had reportedly gathered in front of the police station, and the police had to use minor force to disperse them.
On January 13, the Uttarakhand Police had arrested Jitendra Tyagi in the Haridwar hate speech case. Tyagi was earlier known as Wasim Rizvi and was the chairperson of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Central Waqf Board. He had recently converted to Hinduism and changed his name.
Two first information reports have been filed in the case so far.
The first FIR was filed on December 23 and had just named Tyagi. On January 1, the names of Yati Narsinghanand Giri and Sagar Sindhu were added in the FIR.
On January 2, the second FIR was filed against 10 persons, including Giri and Sindhu. 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.
Giri, also known as Yati Nargsinghanand Saraswati, has made several extremist comments in the past as well. At the Haridwar event, he had called upon Hindus to pick up weapons, asserting that “economic boycott” of Muslims will not work.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is hearing a plea seeking an impartial inquiry by a special investigation team into the hate speeches. On Wednesday, the court had issued a notice to the Uttarakhand government asking for its response to the petition within 10 days.