SC ruling on hate speech puts spanner in right-wing’s design to polarise society

Hate speech by high-ranking politicians has risen steeply, by around 1130 per cent, since Narendra Modi won office in 2014

The 2020 Delhi riots were triggered by hate speeches made by BJP leaders
The 2020 Delhi riots were triggered by hate speeches made by BJP leaders

Arun Srivastava

The leaders of the saffron brigade comprising of the RSS and the BJP are quite annoyed with the Supreme Court’s concern over hate speech, which said on Friday: “What have we reduced religion to? There cannot be fraternity unless members of community drawn from different religions or castes of the country are able to live in harmony”.

In a single stroke, the SC has blunted their most effective weapon to divide the society and put a check on their design to pit the Hindus against Muslims.

Hate speech has been the most effective instrument to accomplish their mission of turning India into a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, the core aim of the RSS. 

The RSS has been working on this line since it came into being nearly 100 years ago. All their past machinations failed to take a concrete shape as the common Hindu was not willing to subscribe to this political line and do away with the core principles of Hinduism. It was only after the BJP came to power under the leadership of Narendra Modi that the move got fast-tracked. 

With the apex court directing state governments and their police to take action against such persons, the task would turn difficult and demanding. The court has directed the Delhi Police Commissioner and the DGPs of Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh to file a report each on “what action has been taken” on “the subject matter of this writ petition”.

“Ensure that immediately as and when any speech or any action takes place (that spreads hate about a community), suo motu action will be taken to register cases even if no complaint is forthcoming and proceed against the offenders in accordance with law.”

The court also made it clear that the officials not carrying out its order would be held liable for contempt of court.

Hate speech is more gruesome than committing genocide. During a genocide, the killers and mercenaries assassinate some persons, some individuals. But hate speech kills the entire community.

A remark made by Justice K.M. Joseph, heading the SC bench that included Justice Hrishikesh Roy, is quite significant: “Article 51 (of the Constitution) says we should develop a scientific temper. Where have we reached? What have we reduced religion to? It is tragic and we speak of the scientific temper in the 21st century.”

The written order of the court says, “There cannot be fraternity unless members of community drawn from different religions or castes of the country are able to live in harmony,”

This is in sharp contrast to the political line of the RSS and the BJP. They are not for united fraternity as it would impede their design.

It is not certain whether the state and its police would follow the directives of the court, which clearly says: “Issue directives to subordinates so that appropriate action in law will be taken at the earliest. Such action will be taken irrespective of the religion that the maker of the speech or the person who commit(s) such act belongs to, so that the secular character of Bharat as is envisaged by the Preamble, is preserved and protected”.

The extent to which hate speech has harmed the Indian fraternity also get reflected in this observation made by it: “We feel that this court is charged with the duty to protect the fundamental rights and also preserve the constitutional values and the secular democratic character of the nation and in particular, the rule of law. The matter needs examination, and some form of interim directions.”

The primary maxim of hate speech is to divide the society and consolidate the Hindus under the banner of the RSS. Once the Hindus rally behind RSS, the task to achieve the mission to make India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ would solemnise. To achieve this, the saffron brigade is not hesitant of turning thousands of innocent Hindu youths into mercenaries.

It is really disgraceful that the RSS, to achieve its mission, is out to completely destroy the social and cultural ethos of India.

The plan is being implemented in a very scrupulous and thorough manner. The hate speech design was launched with Modi becoming the PM. Neither he nor the chief of the RSS, Mohan Bhagwat, have ever decried the incidents nor asked their cadres to refrain from such acts.

On the contrary, the RSS and BJP leaders have been entrusting this task to the comparatively young leaders, even young MPs.

While Modi maintains a deafening silence, the police administration, taking a cue from his silence, is unwilling to take action.

BJP leaders like Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, and Parvesh Verma have been openly indulging in spreading hate. But Modi or his deputy Amit Shah never bothered to ask them to keep silent.        

The petitioner in the matter, Abdullah Shaheen alleged police inaction in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand on hate speeches delivered against Muslims last December and January, and a speech by BJP MP from Delhi, Parvesh Verma, on October 9 this year.

Hate speech by high-ranking politicians has risen steeply, around 1130 per cent since Modi won office in 2014. The most spiteful Hindu supremacists are the BJP’s top officials. A senior UP minister only some time back had defended a call given by Hindu religious leaders to commit genocide of two million Muslims.

Of the 45 leaders responsible for hate speech since the Modi government came to power, only 5 per cent were reprimanded or cautioned, or issued a public apology. Cases were registered only against 11 of them.

Only a fortnight back, the apex court had rapped the Modi government for not enacting a law against hate speech. It even sought to know from Modi government as to why it was a "mute spectator" to vitriolic speech on TV news channels.

The court was quite harsh with the TV anchors. "The role of anchor (in TV debates) is very important. Mainstream TV channels still hold sway. The role of anchor is critical and it's their duty to see that hate speech doesn't occur...Many a time those who want to speak are muted. These speeches on mainstream media or social media that is unregulated," the bench of Justices K M Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy had said.

A recent report released by the Delhi-based socio-cultural organisation, ‘Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD)’, in the form of a book entitled Hate Grips the Nation, details cases of rising hate speech and hate crime in India.

The reports show, with empirical data, the upward spiralling of hate crimes against the minorities, especially Muslims (73.3 per cent) and Christian (26.7 per cent), in India.

 (IPA Service)

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