Supreme Court to hear Hardiwar hate speech case today


The Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a former Patna high court judge and a journalist, demanding stringent action against those involved in making hate speeches at a religious events held in Haridwar last month.

A bench, headed by chief justice of India NV Ramana, will take up the petition filed by former HC judge Anjana Prakash and journalist Qurban Ali. The other judges on the bench are justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli.

On Monday, the bench had agreed to urgently list for hearing the petition after senior advocate Kapil Sibal mentioned the plea.

“I have moved this PIL in respect of what happened in Dharam Sansad in Haridwar on 17 and 19 December. We are living in different times where slogans in the country have changed from Satyamev Jayate (truth alone wins) to Shashtramev Jayate (those with arms only win),” Sibal submitted before the bench.

The event in Haridwar, held from December 17-19 last year, was organised by Yati Narasimhanand, a religious leader who has been accused in the past of inciting violence with his incendiary speeches.

After several controversial videos from the event that were circulated on social media triggered outrage, the Uttarakhand police registered a first information report (FIR) against Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi, formerly known as Waseem Rizvi, and others for allegedly giving a “provocative speech” against “a particular religion” at the Dharm Sansad. Some speakers at the event allegedly called for violence against Muslims and Christians.

Former Patna HC judge and senior advocate Prakash, and journalist Qurban Ali, approached the Supreme Court complaining of inaction against those who made hate speeches at the Haridwar Dharm Sansad and in Delhi.

It said that the speeches made at the Sansad posed a grave threat not just to the unity and integrity of the country but also endangered the lives of millions of Muslim citizens.

The plea cited some viral videos of the incident, reportedly showing proclamations made by various religious leaders at the event while contending that the police authorities are hand in glove with the perpetrators of communal hate.

The petition has urged the court to set up a special investigation team to probe the incident and bring guilty to book.

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