Indian Supreme Court Wednesday sought the Uttarakhand government's response on a petition seeking a probe into the hate speeches delivered at the 'Dharam Sansad' in Haridwar in December.
Representing the petitioner, senior advocate and Congress leader Kapil Sibal submitted that the court must hear the matter again soon to prevent another similar congregation in Aligarh on 23 January. Declining to do so, the three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said, "We give you the liberty to move a representation before the authorities. Tell them it is against the law."
"We cannot do anything at this stage," the court said, and hinted that it would hear the matter again after 10 days. "We are issuing notice to the state government concerned, and then let us take it up," said the bench.
Apart from the Haridwar incident, the petition filed by a former Patna High Court judge Justice Anjana Prakash also mentions a December 17 event that took place in Delhi, organized by the Hindu Yuva Vahini, where the speakers made "open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing".
"If no quick steps are taken, such 'Dharam Sansads' will be held in Una, Aligarh and Dasna, at a time when the election process is on in Uttar Pradesh. Hate speeches are vitiating the atmosphere of the entire country and it will erode the ethos of this democracy," Sibal argued. He said the Uttarakhand Police had not arrested anyone in connection with the Haridwar incident.
"Events are overtaking us, they are announcing Sansad on a daily basis. We only want it to be heard as soon as possible," he pleaded.
In the court Wednesday, the bench also voiced its displeasure at multiple petitions on the issue and said it would only entertain the petitioner represented by Sibal for now.
On Monday, a fresh petition was filed by the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind president Maulana Arshad Madani in the Supreme Court to ban anti-Muslim speeches and programs like the 'Dharma Sansad' in Haridwar in Uttarakhand and in the national capital.
The petition demanded stern legal action against those who allegedly threatened to massacre Muslims and said it was not just a matter of religion but of the Constitution, law, unity, and integrity of the country.
"Hate speeches and statements against Muslims have suddenly intensified in the country in recent times," it said.
"Even the recent programs held, under government's nose, in Haridwar and Delhi have not only caused open provocations, but have also deliberately conspired to provoke the majority to massacre Muslims for the establishment of 'Hindu Rshtra', but unfortunately, no legal action has been taken in these two cases so far," the petition said.
Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind said that the State and central law enforcement agencies have not fulfilled their duties, "which has created a very depressing situation in the whole country".
"The silence of the central and state governments on the controversial speeches in the Dharma Sansad and elsewhere has added to the gravity of the situation," he said in the petition.
The event in Haridwar was organized by Yati Narsinghanand and that in Delhi by the 'Hindu Yuva Vahini', and these called for the genocide of Muslims.
The Uttarakhand Police had filed an FIR on December 23, 2021, under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code against some persons including Wasim Rizvi, Sant Dharamdas Maharaj, Sadhvi Annapoorna alias Pooja Shakun Pandey, Yati Narsinghanand, and Sagar Sindhu Maharaj. However no arrests were made.
Meanwhile, the Haridwar Dharam Sansad group has decided to stage on January 16 a protest against the FIRs lodged against participating seers at the Dharma Sansad held in Haridwar.