Dharma Sansad

And if this is called Dharma Sansad, there is no other Adharma one can imagine. State’s silence or tacit response, police officer laughing along with accused, which appeared in another viral video also add to the ‘hate’ the state does not want to prevent or punish.

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Our Constitution in the Article 19(1)(a) guaranteed that all citizens of India shall have freedom of speech and expression. This right is not absolute. There are restrictions on this in the Article 19(2), which says that nothing prevents the State from making any law in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, to protect public order, prevent incitement to an offence etc.

Several penal Sections of IPC have been created to prevent and punish misuse of the fundamental right of freedom of speech even when a person expresses a conflicting viewpoint. Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with the offence of promoting disharmony, enmity or feelings of hatred between different groups on the grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony. The offence is a cognizable offence and the punishment for the same may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both. However, the punishment of the offence committed in a place of worship is enhanced up to five years and fine.

Section 153B of IPC

Section 153B of the IPC safeguards the interests of “class of persons” and above all the “national integration” by providing punishment against imputations and assertions prejudicial to national integration.

Section 295A of IPC

Section 295A of the IPC is a variant of ‘blasphemy law.’ It allows punishing of any deliberate and malicious acts that are intended to insult the region or religious beliefs of certain class of citizens. The offence under Section 295A is cognizable and a nonbailable and non-compoundable offence. The police are authorised to arrest a person charged under Section 295A with a warrant.

Section 505 of IPC

Section 505 of the IPC is aimed to check and punish the spreading of false and mischievous news intended to upset the public tranquillity. The offence shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three years or with fine, or with both.

Until the pressure was built up in media and civil society all over, the Uttarakhand Police did not wake up to register a case against the hate speeches made during a three-day Dharma Sansad (religious parliament) from December 17 to 19 in Haridwar.

Year 2021 ended with this hate speech and, to say the least, a call for genocide. Whom they want to kill and who has to do that is immaterial. They are asking some human beings to kill other human beings. Hate in speech is a dangerous provocation and a serious abuse of freedom of speech.

And if this is called Dharma Sansad, there is no other Adharma one can imagine.

Very interestingly, the main accused in this case is Wasim Rizvi who converted into Hindu and became Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, who is giving a call for killing Muslims.

The video of this hate is spreading like viral virus omicron, perhaps worse than Covid-19.

State’s silence or tacit response, police officer laughing along with accused, which appeared in another viral video also add to the ‘hate’ the state does not want to prevent or punish.

Formally, Uttarakhand Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar said that incidents of ‘hate speech’ will not be tolerated in the state.

The police are using the name of Rizvi while informing the people that a hate speech is booked. A case under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) has been registered against Rizvi, the former chairman of the UP Shia Waqf Board who had recently converted to Hinduism was among the hundreds of attendees at the conclave.

Dharma Sansad so called was held at Ved Niketan Dham in Haridwar, organised by Yati Narasimhan and Giri of the Juna Akhada, who is already under police scanner for making hate speeches and inciting violence against Muslims. Suresh Chavhanke, the editor of Sudarshan News, which has been called out for its report on ‘UPSC Jihad,’  were among those on the stage wherefrom provocative speeches were made.

One speaker was wanting to kill former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh just as Godse killed Mahatma Gandhi, giving a call to Hindus to buy arms and be ready to kill and get killed, etc.

Videos from the conclave that were posted online invoked shock and condemnation, with many comparing it to the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s.

Once he was RSS Pracharak, then he became an ascetic. He is Prabodhanand Giri, who runs an organisation called Hindu Raksha Sena in Haridwar. He asked Hindus to emulate what was done in Myanmar, referring to the violence against Rohingya Muslims. He called it safai abhiyan (“cleanliness drive”), apparently implying ethnic cleansing.

Prabodhanand Giri associates himself with the Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, whose picture is featured on his Facebook page. Speaking to the NDTV News the following day, he said that he stood by what he said, and asserted that he was not afraid of the police.

Sadhvi Annapurna, earlier known as Pooja Shakun Pandey, who heads the Niranjani Akhara and is a general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha, gave an open call to kill the people of a community. “If 100 of us are ready to kill two million of them, then we will win and make India a Hindu nation,” she said, asking Hindus to be ready to kill and go to jail. Talking to a news channel, she said that she was not afraid of the police.

Another speaker called Swami Anandswaroop, who heads the Sambhavi Dhaam, warned people against celebrating Christmas in Haridwar. He also asked for Muslim vendors to be excluded from it. He said that the decision of the Dharm Sansad was the “word of God” and the government would have to listen to it. Otherwise, they would wage a war like the one in 1857, referring to the Indian Rebellion of 1857 against the British Indian Government.

It is reported that around the same time as the Haridwar meet, a gathering of Hindu Yuva Vahini, an organisation founded by Yogi Adityanath, met in Delhi to take an oath. Raising their hands, the hundreds of members chanted, “We make a resolution until our last breath: We will make India a Hindu nation, and keep it a Hindu-only nation. We will fight and die if required, we will kill as well.”

Importantly, the oath was administered by none other than Suresh Chavhanke, the editor-in-chief of the right-wing news channel, Sudarshan News, who was involved in hate speech over TV controversy last year. He then tweeted a video of the oath to his half a million followers. One of the bail conditions generally is that one should not repeat the offence.

Admiral Arun Prakash, the former Chief of Naval Staff, described it as a clear threat to India’s national security; former Army chief General Ved Prakash Malik agreed and urged urgent action. Trinamool Congress spokesperson Saket Gokhale lodged a police complaint; Indian National Congress spokesperson Shama Mohammed has also filed a similar complaint.

In response to criticism against the Haridwar hate speech, the BJP leaders or their supporters shared a clipped video of Muslim leader Asaduddin Owaisi to allege that he called for a genocide of Hindus.

76 Advocates represent to CJI

Seventy-six advocates of the Supreme Court have submitted a representation to the Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, asking the Supreme Court to take suo motu cognisance of the calls for “ethnic cleansing” at two recent religious events in Delhi and Haridwar. This letter was signed eminent lawyers including Dushyant Dave, Prashant Bhushan and Vrinda Grover, Salman Khurshid and former Patna High Court judge Anjana Prakash. They named a list of people.

The advocates apprehended that in the absence of police action, “Urgent judicial intervention is required to prevent such events that seem to have become the order of the day”.

The letter also says: “The aforementioned events and the speeches delivered during the same are not mere hate speeches but amount to an open call for murder of an entire community……pose a grave threat not just to the unity and integrity of our country but also endanger the lives of millions of Muslim citizens”.

The leaders should condemn these illegal speeches. Even if they are silent, it will unnecessarily encourage the hate.

 

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      Courtesy: Hans News Service , 3 Jan 2022

Author Dr. Madabhushi Sridhar Acharyulu was a Professor at Nalsar University of Law in Hyderabad, former Central Information Commissioner and presently is Dean & Professor, School of Law, Mahindra University, Hyderabad.

Email:professorsridhar@gmail.com


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