No open calls for genocide of Muslim community made at Dharam Sansad event: Delhi police tell SC

The affidavit was filed in response to a petition that sought a probe into allegations of hate speech at the “Dharam Sansad” in Haridwar and Delhi in December 2021.

Published: 14th April 2022 06:52 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th April 2022 06:57 PM   |  A+A-

Supreme Court

Supreme Court (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Delhi Police in an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court denied allegations of hate speech in Dharam Sansad events held in Delhi in December 2021.
The Police said that based on the complaints filed by several people against the Hindu Yuva Vahini event, it had conducted an "in-depth inquiry and evaluation" in the matter, and found no substance in the allegations of hate speech.

“…After that deep inquiry was conducted, evaluated the contents of the video, etc. then the answering respondent did not find any substance in the video as per the allegations leveled by the complainants. In the video clip of the Delhi incident, there is no utterance against any particular section/community,” the affidavit said.

The complaints also referred to a speech by the Editor of the television channel Sudarshan News, and claimed that it contained instances of what can be said to be “hate speech”.

“… Hence, after inquiry and after evaluation of the alleged video clip, it was concluded that the alleged speech did not disclose any hate words against a particular community as alleged otherwise. A bare perusal of the complaint made, the statement which is alleged to be offensive, would divulge that there are no specific words against any particular community or against any community that were uttered by the gathering or any person in that event,” the affidavit by Delhi Police reads.

“…There is no use of such words which mean or could be interpreted as “open calls for genocide of Muslim in order to achieve ethnic cleansing or an open call for the murder of an entire community” in the speech. After completion of the enquiry into the complaints, the inquiry officer submitted the enquiry report on March 24, 2022 closing all the complaints after evaluation of the alleged video clip, it was concluded that the alleged speech did not disclose any hate words against a particular community as alleged or otherwise,” it added.

The affidavit was filed in response to a petition that sought a probe into allegations of hate speech at the “Dharam Sansad” in Haridwar and Delhi in December 2021.

The affidavit filed by Esha Pandey, Deputy Commissioner of Police, South East Delhi, further submitted that "none of the words which were spoken during the events in any manner whatsoever overtly or expressly described Indian Muslims as usurpers of territory, and as predators of land, livelihood and of Hindu women and nothing was said which could create an environment of paranoia amongst any religion".

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While referring to the fundamental freedom of speech under Article 19(1)(a), Delhi Police said that it  “can be reasonably restricted only for the purposes mentioned under article 19(2), and the restriction must be justified on the anvil of necessity and not the quicksand of convenience and expediency.”

“…We must practice tolerance to the view of others.  Intolerance is as much dangerous to democracy as to the person himself. That the petitioner is trying to draw an incorrect and absurd inference by isolated passages disregarding the main theme and message," it added.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday had directed the State of Uttarakhand to file a status report on the probe into the alleged hate speech at Dharam Sansad events held in Haridwar in December.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal appearing for Qurban Ali and advocate Anjana Prakash (petitioners) had informed the top court that the matter needs to be heard soon as another event is scheduled this Sunday in Himachal Pradesh. They have filed an application to make Himachal Pradesh a party to the case. The bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar also granted liberty to the petitioners to intimate the collector and superintendent of police of the area about the event.

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The petition seeks directions to ensure that an independent, credible and impartial investigation is conducted into the incidents of hate speeches against the Muslim community including the speeches delivered in a two-day event (December 17-19, 2021) at Haridwar and Delhi by an SIT or otherwise as deemed appropriate by the court.

It is submitted in the plea that the alleged 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 the 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,” it said,

The plea has submitted that the hate speeches are extreme examples of incitement and advocating of violence and therefore fails the test laid down in the Shreya Singhal case.
“That the contents of the speech feed into an already prevailing discourse which seeks to reimagine the Indian Republic as exclusivist, and that which has no space for other cultures, traditions and practices. Such a discourse is in itself violative of constitutional guarantees provided to minority cultures and religions in India,” it added.

The plea talks about  Article 7 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as adopted by General Assembly provides that everyone is equal and entitled to equal protection against discrimination, and against incitement to such discrimination.

"Further, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which India ratified in 1992 places positive obligations to limit speech on governments… Article 20(2) requires governments who adopt the ICCPR to prohibit “hate speech.” The plea reads,

The next date of hearing is on April 22.

India Matters


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