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SC seeks Centre, Uttarakhand govt response on plea seeking action on hate speeches (Lead)

 
New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Uttarakhand government on a petition by journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High Court judge Anjana Prakash, seeking action against those who made hate speeches against the Muslim community at Dharam Sansad in Haridwar.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hima Kohli allowed the petitioners to approach local authorities with their plea to stop a proposed Dharam Sansad scheduled at Aligarh on January 23.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the petitioners, contended that Dharam Sansad is going to organise another congregation at Aligarh and some direction should be passed to restrain them from making hate speeches, while the top court is seized of the matter.

He emphasized that various Dharam Sansads are scheduled in states, which are going to polls soon.

Citing hate speeches, he said it is contrary to the ethos and values of this country and pressed for preventive steps to stop these people from making statements against a particular community.

Listing the matter after 10 days, the top court, in its order, said: "Kapil Sibal, learned senior counsel submitted that some more events are being planned, in which there may be a possibility of certain inflammatory speeches. If that is so, the petitioners are at liberty to make a representation to, or bring it to the notice of, the concerned local authorities."

The top court also issued notice to the Central government and Delhi Police in the matter, as the petitioner has also cited an event in Delhi by an organisation called Hindu Yuva Vahini.

On Monday, the top court had agreed to hear the petition, which sought an independent, impartial and credible probe into the matter by an SIT.

The plea, filed through advocate Sumita Hazarika, said: "Hate speeches consisted of open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing. It is pertinent to note that the said speeches are not mere hate speeches but amount to an open call for murder of an entire community. The said speeches thus, pose a grave threat not just to the unity and integrity of our country but also endanger the lives of millions of Muslim citizens."

According to the plea, the hate speeches were made between December 17-19, last year, in two events organised in Haridwar, by the controversial Yati Narsinghanand, and in Delhi, by an organisation self-styled as Hindu Yuva Vahini with the apparent objective of declaring war against a significant section of the Indian citizenry.

The plea submitted that despite the passage of almost three weeks, no effective steps have been taken by the police authorities including non-application of Sections 120B, 121A and 153B of the IPC, to the said hate speeches.

It further pointed out that the police authorities have registered two FIRs against 10 people who took part in the Haridwar Dharam Sansad but even in the said FIRs, only Sections 153A, 295A and 298 of the IPC have been invoked.

"The blatant inaction by the police also came into the forefront when a police officer's video went viral on the Internet, wherein one of speakers of the aforementioned events openly acknowledged the officer's allegiance with the organisers and speakers of the Dharam Sansad," added the plea.

--IANS
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