The Supreme Court on Friday remarked that calls made for economic boycott of Muslims after the communal violence in Haryana’s Nuh district were “unacceptable”, Bar and Bench reported.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti suggested formation of a committee headed by the Haryana director general of police to examine complaints of hate speech reported in the aftermath of the violence. If allegations are found true, the judges said that directions can be issued to the police authorities to act against the miscreants.

“The problem is, at the SHO [station house officer] level or at the level of the police station, the understanding of the nuances of the law is a little different,” Justice Khanna said. “Whereas senior or mid-level officers...They can sensitise them.”

Communal clashes erupted between Hindus and Muslims during the Brij Mandal Jalabhishek Yatra, a procession organised by the Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, on July 31, and quickly spread beyond Nuh.

Hindu mobs went on a rampage in Gurugram, torching a mosque in Sector 57, killing its deputy imam and setting fire to shops and shanties of Muslim migrant workers in Sector 70 the next day.

A petition filed in the Supreme Court by journalist Shaheen Abdullah stated that over 27 rallies were organised in various states after the violence and speakers delivered hate speech, PTI reported.

“In a video that surfaced on social media on August 2, a procession by the Samhast Hindu Samaj can be seen walking through a neighbourhood in Hisar, Haryana, in the presence of police officials issuing warnings to residents/shopkeepers that if they continue to employ/keep any Muslims after two days then their shops will be boycotted,” the plea said.

At Friday’s hearing, senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Abdullah, said that the Supreme Court must protect people and not allow “this kind of vitriol” to go unchecked.

Justice Khanna underlined the need to maintain harmony between communities. “This problem has to be solved,” he added. “No one can accept it.”

Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj said that there is already a mechanism under the law to address the problem of hate speech but in some places it is not working.

When the bench asked Sibal about the idea mooted by it for setting up a committee, the lawyer submitted, “My problem is when someone threatens shopkeepers to throw out Muslims in the next two days, this committee is not going to help.”

Sibal added that the police do not arrest the culprits once first information reports are registered. “Nothing happens after FIRs are registered,” he lamented. “Then, what is the point of saying an FIR has been registered?”

The matter will be heard next on August 18.

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