Right-wing groups at the Supreme Court
Two right-wing groups have filed counter-appeals in the Supreme Court opposing advocacy against hate speech at religious gatherings in Haridwar and Delhi that sparked public outrage across the country. Both organizations appealed to the court to make them part of the case.
In the appeal, Hindu Sena chairman Vishnu Gupta called for Muslim leaders to be arrested for their hate speech instead.
The religious leaders’ statements to Dharam Sansad were responses to attacks on Hindu culture by non-Hindus and cannot be characterized as “hate speech”, according to the appeal.
“Efforts are being made to scandalize the spiritual leaders of Hindus… The petitioner belongs to the Muslim community and is not expected to raise any objections to any business or activity related to Hindu Dharm Sansad (sic)”, the plea reads, citing the appeal. lodged by journalist Qurban Ali against the speeches of religious forums which caused outrage in the country.
The Hindu Sena chairman also demanded the arrest of AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi and other Muslim leaders like Waris Pathan, accusing them of holding hate speech.
Another organization, the Hindu Justice Front, argued that since the Supreme Court has agreed to review hate speech against Muslims, it should also review hate speech against Hindus. In their appeal, they cited 25 cases of alleged hate speech against Hindus.
Journalist Qurban Ali and Anjana Prakash, a former High Court judge in Patna, had filed hate speech appeals in Haridwar and Delhi, which were condemned by activists and civil society.
Five former Armed Forces Chiefs of Staff and more than a hundred others, including bureaucrats and prominent citizens, had written to President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding “the open appeal to the genocide of Indian Muslims”, calling on them to protect the integrity and security of our country.
On January 12, the Supreme Court had issued an opinion to the Centre, the Uttarakhand government and the Delhi police, requesting an account of action taken on the matter.
Shortly after, Uttarakhand police arrested a speaker, Yati Narsinghanand, and Jitendra Narayan Tyagi (called Wazim Rizvi before his conversion) in connection with the case. Both are in custody.