The Delhi Police on Sunday booked Hindutva supremacist Yati Narsinghanand Giri for alleged hate speech during an event called the “Hindu mahapanchayat” in Delhi’s Burari area, PTI reported. Other speakers at the event were also booked.
During the event, Yati, the head priest of Ghaziabad’s Dasna Devi temple, had exhorted Hindus to pick up arms. He is already an accused person in a hate speech case against Muslims. He was arrested and released on bail after spending weeks in custody.
“For once if a Muslim becomes the prime minister of India, 50% of you [Hindus] will have to convert,” Narsinghanand could be heard saying on Sunday in one of the videos posted on social media. “In 20 years, 40% Hindus will be killed...If you want to secure your future, then be a man...And who is a man? One who holds weapons is a man.”
The police said they had lodged the first information report after taking legal opinion, The Indian Express reported, citing an unnamed senior official.
“Taking suo-motu cognisance, we have also booked the speakers for inflammatory speech,” the official said. “We have scanned the CCTV footage and identified some of the speakers.”
The FIR was filed under Sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language etc. and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Usha Rangnani said that no permission was granted for the event but the organiser, a man identified as Preet Singh, still went ahead with it. The police have also booked Singh.
“Despite the denial by Delhi Police, Preet Singh reached the Burari ground with his supporters,” Rangnani said, according to The Indian Express. “Around 700-800 people gathered at the event place and invitees of the organiser started delivering speech from the stage. Police reached the place of event and tried to maintain the order.”
Rangnani added that other speakers including Suresh Chavhanke, the editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News, uttered words promoting disharmony, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill will between two communities. “Accordingly, a case under sections of promoting enmity between different groups and disobedience to public order,” she said.
Two FIRs filed
The police have also registered two FIRs in connection with the attack on seven journalists by a mob at the event.
Meer Faisal of The Hindustan Gazette, photojournalist Md Meharban, and Newslaundry journalists, Shivangi Saxena and Ronak Bhat, were assaulted at the event. Arbab Ali, who was covering the event for Article 14, Meghnad Bose, a reporter at The Quint and another journalist who did not wish to be identified, were verbally abused.
Four of the five journalists who were escorted away by the police were Muslims and were targeted allegedly after being asked their religious identity.
The first FIR was first based on a complaint filed by Newslaundry’s Saxena, who had alleged that she and one of her colleagues were “manhandled and assaulted” during the event.
“His [her colleague’s] press ID was snatched from him,” Saxena had said in her complaint. “I was recording the incident while doing that, I was pulled back and groped by unknown men who tried to snatch my mobile”
She also alleged that Singh had called out her name from the stage of the “Hindu Mahapanchayat” event and identified her as the journalist whose report was used as video evidence to put him in jail in August. Singh was one of the men arrested for chanting hateful slogans against Muslims at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar in August.
Meanwhile, the second FIR was filed on the complaint by Ali, who said he and Faisal were interviewing people at the event when they were attacked.
The FIR was filed under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.