HYDERABAD: Two days after banishing film critic Kathi Mahesh from the city for six months for his alleged sacrilegious comments against Hindu Gods, Hyderabad police on Wednesday extended Swami Paripoornananda, head of Sri Peetham in Kakinada of Andhra Pradesh, from the city for the same period. The seer was taken to his Kakinada ashram by Telangana police in the early hours of Wednesday.
Police issued the externment order under Section 3 of Telangana Prevention of Anti-Social and Hazardous Activities Act 1980, for his provocative speeches while addressing meetings in the State recently.
“We sent a showcause notice to the Swami on July 9, asking him as to why shouldn’t he be removed from the city limits for a period of six months. However, the seer refused to acknowledge the notice,” police said.
In fact, the Swami, who has been going hammer and tongs against those who criticise Hinduism, is now heading Rashtriya Hindu Sena, a spiritual organisation aimed at protecting Hindu Dharma. The priest had been kept under house arrest at his Jubilee Hills residence since Monday on the day when he had tried to embark on an Yatra in protest against Mahesh’s comments on Hindu deities.
Earlier in the day, Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar directed the West Zone DCP AR
Srinivas and Banjara Hills ACP Srinivas Rao to serve an order of externment to Paripoornananda from the city. “The remarks made by Swami Paripoornananda posed a threat to public peace,” police stated.
Meanwhile differences of opinion exists among legal experts with regard to the externment of the Swami and Kathi Mahesh. Some of them felt that such orders will curtail freedom of expression, while others say that such orders will restrain others from making any derogatory remarks. They are, however, of the view that the order, if challenged, will sustain in the court of law.
Alleged provocative remarks of Swamiji
In the order copy, the police said Swami Paripoornananda had started Rastriya Hindu Sena on November 1, 2017. In this regard, a public meeting was held at Narayankhed. In the meeting, the Swami alleged that government was providing subsidy to Christians and Muslims to visit Jerusalem and Mecca respectively, while collecting huge surcharges from Hindus for visiting Kasi or Rameswaram. He also chalked out plans to organise programmes in every districts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
On December 2, 2017, addressing a gathering at Rameswarpally of Kamareddy district, Swami Paripoornananda said during Mughal rule, Babar, Gazni, Khilji, Humayun spread a lot of violence and atrocities against Hindus. In Telangana, Razakars committed a lot of atrocities on Hindu women.
In another meeting, the seer had allegedly asked the gathering if they want ‘Chatrapathi Shivaji rule’ or ‘Nizam rule’.
Paripoornananda also suggested to change names of places such as Nizamabad, Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Adilabad and Mahabubabad.
Difference of opinion exists among advocates with regard to the externment order of the Hyderabad city police issued to Swami Paripoornananda and film critic Kathi Mahesh. While some felt that such orders curtail freedom of expression, others say that such orders will prevent people from making ‘offensive’ comments.
Legal experts felt that the police wanted to maintain a balance by banning the above two persons to avoid criticism from a section of the society. They are, however, of the view that the said order, if challenged, will be sustainable in the court of law since it is written in the statute books.
The Hyderabad city police has passed externment orders separately to both of them under Section 3 of the Telangana Prevention of Anti-Social and Hazardous Activities Act, 1980. The police issued order to Swami Paripoornananda externing him from the city for six months citing various instances where he had made ‘provocative speeches’ while addressing meetings in Telangana. Kathi Mahesh was externed from the city for six months for making offensive statements against Lord Rama.
Senior counsel A Satya Prasad of the High Court said an externment order should be issued if there was any breach of peace and tranquility. “In the present case, the arguments took place during debates on TV channels. If anybody had made provocative speeches against any community, then the police could have registered cases under various sections of IPC. Since there is no breach of peace and tranquility, issue of externment orders is not correct. There will be no end to such issues,” he said. Another senior counsel L Ravi Chander found fault with the action of the police saying that the said Act was applicable to rowdy sheeters, goondas and other anti-social elements. Swamy Paripoornananda and Mahesh do not come under this Act, he said.
Advocate B Rachna Reddy asked why the police had not issued externment orders against gangsters like Nayeem. However, another senior counsel S Satyam Reddy of the high court said that the above orders will prevent others from making derogatory remarks which offends the faith of people belonging to other religions or groups. The police have the power to issue such orders if there is likelihood of breach of peace and harmony, he noted.
Another advocate S Janardhan Goud said that the police had power to issue such orders for public peace. One should not hurt the feelings of people from other faiths in the name of freedom of speech, he said.