Delhi, Haridwar hate speeches: Lawyers urge CJI to take suo motu action

The lawyers told the CJI that such speeches pose a grave threat not just to the unity and integrity of our country but also endanger the lives of millions of Muslim citizens

A group of at least 76 Supreme Court lawyers have urged Chief Justice of India NV Ramana to take suo motu cognizance against hate speech made by speakers at two events in Delhi and Haridwar, where they had called for genocide of Muslims.

In a letter, addressed to CJI Ramana, the lawyers said, between December 17 and December 19, at the two events – one in Delhi, organised by the Hindu Yuva Vahini and another in Haridwar, organised by Yati Narsinghanand Giri –  “open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing were made by nine people including Yati Narsinghanand Giri.

The letter named Giri, Sagar Sindhu Maharaj, Dharamdas Maharaj, Premanand Maharaj, Sadhvi Annapoorna alias Pooja Shakun Pandey, Swami Anand Swaroop, Ashwani Upadhyay, Suresh Chavhanke and Swami Prabodhanand Giri as the chief culprits.

“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. The said speeches thus, 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 letter read.

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The signatories including senior lawyers Dushyant Dave, Salman Khurshid, and Prashant Bhushan urged the CJI to take cognizance of the matter and take action against the “guilty persons” under Sections 120(B), 121(A), 124(A), 153(A), 153(B), 295(A) and 298 of the Indian Penal Code.

At the December 19 event in Delhi, Hindutva groups including editor-in-chief of Sudarshan News Suresh Chavhanke were seen taking a pledge to “fight, die and if required, kill” to turn India into a “Hindu Rashtra”. The event was also attended by Rajeshwar Singh, the minister of state in the Uttar Pradesh government.

Videos of the ‘Dharam Sansad’ held in Haridwar between December 17 and 20 also showed speakers making incendiary speeches against Muslims.

In one of the videos, Prabodhanand Giri tells the gathering that the police, politicians and Army in India should follow Myanmar’s example “and every Hindu must pick up weapons and conduct a Safayi Abhiyan (ethnic cleansing). There is no other option left.”

In another video, Sadhvi Annapoorna is seen asking the spectators to pick arms to “finish off” Muslims.

“We need 100 soldiers who can kill 20 lakh of them to win this,” she says.

Shia Waqf Board chairperson Waseem Rizvi, who claims to have converted to Hinduism and changed his name to Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, Sadhvi Annapoorna, the ‘Mahamandleswhwar’ of the Niranjini Akhada, the general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha and Dharamdas Maharaj, a resident of Bihar have been named in an FIR filed by Uttarakhand police into the matter. No arrests have been made so far.

None of the speakers have regretted their comments when approached by the media later.

“I am not ashamed of what I have said. I am not afraid of police. I stand by my statement,” Prabodhanand told a popular news website.

Sadhvi Annapoorna called the Indian Constitution faulty and that Indians should “pray to Nathuram Godse”, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi.

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