Prashant Bhushan urges SC to take suo motu cognizance of hate speeches made at Haridwar congregation
“Why are organisers not afraid of police and judiciary? Because govt & police are with them. In fact, it was done in cahoots with govt,” lawyer Prashant Bhushan said at an online event held on Friday
A day after videos of ‘Dharma Sansad’ in Haridwar – wherein Hindu religious leaders gave an open call for genocide of Muslims in order to make India a Hindu Rashtra – went viral, inviting criticism from all over the world, Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan urged the SC to take cognizance of the hate speeches allegedly made by so-called Hindu saints.
Speaking at an online event ‘Haridwar Hate Assembly: Assault on Idea of India’, Prashant Bhushan expressed astonishment at the level of provocative communal language used at the gathering in Haridwar. He termed the ‘Dharma Sansad’ as ‘Adharma Sansad’ of Hindutva forces and the event as a “blatant attack on India”.
Saying that civil society will have to come forward to provide an effective counter to the propaganda unleased by “fanatic elements”, the noted lawyer urged the apex court to hold them (speakers) accountable and file a suo moto case against the “hate-mongers”.
“It is punishable under the UAPA and various sections of the IPC,” he said.
Calling upon members of civil society to build pressure on the police and the judiciary to take strict action against the speakers, Bhushan said, “Why are they (the organizers) not afraid of police and judiciary? Because the government and police are with them. In fact, it was done in cahoots with the government. Everyone should speak against them.”
“Celebrities should speak up. They have not spoken up in the manner they should,” he added.
Bhushan also suggested formation of ‘Harmony Councils’ in “every district of India, comprising members of every religion and prominent people” to spearhead the message of peace.
Speaking at the event, former Rajya Sabha member Sayeeda Hameed said that the Haridwar event was part of a project to change the secular fabric of India.
“Controversial BJP leader Ashwani Upadhyay presented Yati Narsinghanand with a saffron ‘Constitution’ during the Dharma Sansad…They are trying to impose a saffron ‘Constitution’ upon India,” she said.
She added that since there is no hope from the state or police, “all (people’s) organizations should be united in this fight against hate.”
Senior journalist and columnist Ram Puniyani questioned the definition of “Dharma” propagated by the RSS and its affiliates.
Pointing out towards the nefarious designs of the RSS and its affiliates, Puniyani said, “Based on false assumptions they (RSS and affiliates) spread hatred. That hatred gets inflamed after a time and then they orchestrate riots.”
RTI activist Anjali Bharadwaj questioned the lackluster response of the police in the whole episode. She also held mainstream media as a “culprit” in this.
“Was the police really not aware of the event?” she questioned.
Meanwhile, amidst the nationwide outrage over the ‘Dharma Sansad’, Uttarakhand Police said that it was keeping an eye on the situation and action will be taken keeping in mind peace and order in the state.
Interestingly, it claimed that no formal complaint had been received so far.
Yati Narsinghanand, a controversial Hindutva figure who is notorious for making communal statements, is said to be the main organizer of the ‘Dharma Sansad’.
He organized a similar event ahead of the Delhi assembly elections in February 2020, which may have contributed to the communal riots in northeast Delhi the same month.