Dharma Sansad: Uttarakhand gets SC notice after plea seeks probe
The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Uttarakhand government over alleged hate speech at a Dharma Sansad event in Haridwar in December. The notice was issued while hearing a petition seeking an impartial probe against those who made hate speeches against Muslims at the event. The petition was filed by journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High Court judge Anjana Prakash.
Why does this story matter?
- The petition was heard on Wednesday after the petitioners had sought an urgent listing on Monday.
- The petitioners approached the SC seeking urgent intervention in the matter pertaining to hate speeches delivered at two separate Dharma Sansad events held on December 17 and December 19 in Haridwar and Delhi, respectively.
- Both events sparked a row over communally charged comments by religious leaders.
Petitioners seek to stop similar events
Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Kapil Sibal had requested an early date of hearing. "If quick steps are not taken these Dharma Sansads will take place at other places," he said. He also referred to a similar event in Aligarh scheduled to be held on January 23. The SC allowed the petitioners to approach local authorities with their plea to stop similar events.
Matter to be listed after 10 days: SC
Sibal had requested that the court post the next hearing for Monday. However, the SC considered arguments that only implementation of previous judgments is required. Hence, the matter will be listed after 10 days.
What does the petition seek?
The petition was filed against the Union Home Ministry, Delhi's Commissioner of Police, and Uttarakhand's Director General of Police. It sought directions for "an independent, credible and impartial investigation" by a special investigation team (SIT). The petition said calls for Muslim genocide at the event violated the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, of which India is a signatory.
Petition questions role of police
The petition argued that FIRs registered by the Uttarakhand Police have conveniently excluded offenses punishable under Section 120B, 121A, and 153B of the Indian Penal Code. The police inaction only fosters the belief that the authorities are hand in glove with the perpetrators, it further argued. Notably, no arrests have been made in this case.
Petitioners identified 9 accused
The petition has also identified nine accused seen in viral videos from the event. They include Yati Narsinghanand 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.
What happened at the Dharma Sansad events?
On December 17 and December 19, two separate Dharma Sansad events were organized in Haridwar and Delhi. The Delhi event was organized by Hindu Yuva Vahini, while the Haridwar one was organized by Yati Narsinghanand. In these events, speakers called for Muslim genocide and the destruction of Muslim sites. The organizers also plan to hold similar events in Aligarh and Kurukshetra in January.
Uttarakhand Police FIR names 5 accused
The Uttarakhand Police has filed an FIR under Section 153A and 295A of the IPC against five people: Wasim Rizvi, Sant Dharamdas Maharaj, Sadhvi Annapoorna alias Pooja Shakun Pandey, Yati Narsinghanand, and Sagar Sindhu Maharaj. However, no FIR has been lodged by the Delhi Police.