Seventy-six defenders of the Supreme Court wrote to India’s Chief Justice NV Ramana on Sunday, asking him to take cognizance of the provocative speeches against Muslims at religious events held in the Haridwar city of Uttarakhand and Delhi, suo motu, Live Law reported.
Last week, several videos were released showing members of the Hindutva group and seers calling for violence against Muslims during a “dharam sansad”, or a religious parliament, held in the town of Haridwar between December 17 and 19. Speakers at the event called on Hindus to buy weapons to commit genocide against Muslims.
The event in Delhi was hosted by Hindu Yuva Vahini. At the rally, Suresh Chavhanke, the editor of Sudarshan News, was seen swearing a group of people to “die for and kill” to make India a “Hindu rashtra” or a Hindu nation.
In the letter sent on Sunday, lawyers told the Indian chief justice that calls for “ethnic cleansing” were made at both events.
“The aforementioned events and the speeches made during them are not mere hate speech, but an open call for the murder of an entire community,” the letter read.
Speakers’ speeches, defenders said, posed a “grave threat not only to the unity and integrity of our country, but also endanger the lives of millions of Muslim citizens.”
Lawyers, in the letter, hoped Chief Justice Ramana would act quickly in his capacity as head of the judiciary.
The lawyers demanded action against the culprits under sections 120B of the Indian Penal Code (criminal association punishment), 121A (conspiracy to commit offenses related to doing, or attempting to wage war , or to encourage war, against the government of India), 153A (promote hostility).
They noted that action should also be taken under Articles 153B of the Indian Penal Code (accusations, assertions detrimental to national integration), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage the religious sentiments of any class by insulting its religion or beliefs) and 298 (statements, words, etc., with the deliberate intention of offending the religious feelings of any person).
A first briefing report filed on December 23 named only one person – the former head of the Shiite Waqf board of directors Jitendra Narayan Tyagi. He had changed his name from Wasim Rizvi after converting to Hinduism on December 6.
Three days after the FIR was filed, the Uttarakhand police added the names of Sadhvi Annapurna, also known as Pooja Shakun Pandey, and priest Dharamdas Maharaj. Annapurna is the general secretary of the Hindutva organization, Hindu Mahasabha.
Annapurna Sadhvi repeated the call for genocide: “If you want to end their population, then we are ready to kill them”, we can hear him say in a video. “Even if 100 of us are willing to kill 20 lakh, then we will be victorious.”
The other accused, Dharamdas Maharaj, called for the assassination of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh “following in the footsteps of Nathuram Godse [Gandhi’s assassin]”. He made the comments in reference to Singh’s 2006 statement to Parliament, saying minorities must have the first claim on the country’s resources.
No arrests were made in this case, although opposition leaders, Muslim organizations and prominent citizens questioned the government’s inaction.
Read also :
- Hindutva leaders call for killing of Muslims in Haridwar and Delhi events
- Haridwar hate speech case: two more names added to FIR