Prayagraj: Hindutva supremacists seek release of accused in Haridwar hate speech case
They made the demand at a ‘sant sammelan’ or a ‘saints’ conclave’ in Uttar Pradesh.
Hindutva supremacist leaders on Saturday demanded the release of seer Yati Narsinghanand Giri and former Shia Waqf Board chief Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, who have been arrested in a hate speech case, India Today reported.
The religious leaders made the demand at a “sant sammelan” or a “saints’ conclave” at Prayagraj city in Uttar Pradesh. The conclave was organised more than a month after a similar “dharam sansad”, or religious parliament, was held at Uttarakhand’s Haridwar city, during which Hindutva group members and seers had called for violence against Muslims.
The Uttarakhand Police arrested Tyagi on January 13 and Giri on January 15 in connection with the Haridwar case. Tyagi had recently converted to Hinduism and changed his name. He was earlier known as Wasim Rizwi.
At the “sant sammelan” on Saturday, the participants adopted three resolutions – the declaring of India as a Hindu country, handing out of capital punishment for religious conversion and the unconditional release of Giri and Tyagi.
One of the seers, Anand Swaroop, told mediapersons at the event that if “our two religious warriors” [Giri and Tyagi] are not released in a week, the agitation will become very aggressive, according to a video by news portal Ten Directions News. “It is possible that something similar to what Bhagat Singh did in the Assembly...the arrests of the Hindu warriors may result in that,” he added.
The seer appeared to be referring to freedom fighters Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt hurling low-intensity bombs inside the Central Legislative Assembly in Delhi on April 8, 1929.
Another seer named Narendranand said that there can be a “son of the nation” but not a father of the nation, in a reference to Mahatma Gandhi, according to Aaj Tak. “Children were taught lies that freedom was achieved bina khadga bina dhaal [without swords and shields],” he said. “Are the memorials to martyrs in all the districts of the countries all lies then?”
Narendranand said that Islamic jihad was a major threat to humanity, and policies similar to those in China had to be adopted to deal with it, the Hindustan Times reported. He claimed that Muslims are not minorities in India, and demanded that their minority status should be rescinded.
Commenting on the arrests of Giri and Tyagi, seer Annapurna claimed that religious leaders were put in prison when they spoke about their safety at the event in Haridwar between December 17 and December 19.
“It was said that this [comments at Dharma Sansad] had hurt the sentiments of the people of a particular religion,” she said, according to the Hindustan Times. “But when [cleric] Tauqeer Raza gathered a crowd of 20,000 in Bareilly and spewed venom against Sanatan Dharma, no action was taken...[All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen chief Asaduddin] Owaisi’s threatening video is released but no action is taken.”