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Hate speech: No specific words against any community uttered during Delhi event, police tells SC

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New Delhi:  No specific words against any community were uttered during an event held here in December last year, the Delhi Police has told the Supreme Court which is hearing a plea seeking direction to ensure investigation and action against those who allegedly made hate speeches during two events held in Haridwar and Delhi.

In a counter affidavit filed in the apex court, the Delhi Police has said the petitioners had not approached them for taking any action in connection with the alleged incident and have directly moved the top court and such a practice must be deprecated.

The top court is hearing a petition filed by journalist Qurban Ali and former Patna High Court judge and senior advocate Anjana Prakash, who have also sought a direction for an “independent, credible and impartial investigation” by an SIT into the incidents of hate speeches against the Muslim community.

In its affidavit, the Delhi Police has said that on the same subject matter, some complaints were lodged alleging that hate speech was made at an event organised here by the ‘Hindu Yuva Vahini’ on December 19 last year and all those complaints were consolidated and an inquiry was initiated.

It said after a “deep enquiry” was conducted and contents of the video were evaluated, the police did not find any substance in the video as per allegation levelled by the complainants.

“In the video clip of the Delhi incident, there is no utterance against any particular section/community. 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 or otherwise,” the affidavit said, adding that all complaints were thereafter closed.

It said the police, after carrying out preliminary inquiry on the complaints and after examining the video link and attached video in respect of the alleged hate speech delivered at Delhi, found that no such words as mentioned by the complainant in his complaint have been used.

“Bare perusal of the complaints made, the statement, which are alleged to be offensive, would divulge that there is no specific words against a particular community or against any community were uttered by the gathering or any other person in that event,” the affidavit said.

“There is no use of such words which mean or could be interpreted as ‘open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing or an open call for murder of an entire community’ in the speech,” the police said.

It said no hate was expressed in the event at Delhi against any group, community, ethnicity, religion or faith, the speech was about empowering one’s religion to prepare itself to face the evils which could endanger its existence, which is not even remotely connected to a call for genocide of any particular religion.

“We must practice tolerance to the views 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 its message,” it said, adding that the petition, so far it relates to the alleged incident at Delhi, is devoid of any merit and ought to be dismissed with cost.

The affidavit further said the petitioners did not choose to follow any of the legally established mechanism for registration of a criminal case and had directly approached the apex court.

“This court must deprecate and discourage such practices, else it will open up the floodgates before this court, which is already overburdened,” it said.

Ali, who is one of the petitioners in the apex court, said their contentions are “not baseless”.

“We stand by what we have said in our petition. The matter is before the Supreme Court. We will file an appropriate response before the court,” he told PTI.               The apex court had on Wednesday asked the Uttarakhand government to file a status report after the state had said that four FIRs have been registered in connection with the alleged hate speeches made in December last year during an event in Haridwar.

The top court has listed the plea for hearing on April 22.

The apex court had on January 12 issued notice on the plea which has sought direction to ensure investigation and action against those who allegedly made hate speeches during two events held in Haridwar and the national capital.

It had asked the Centre, the Delhi Police and the Uttarakhand Police to respond to the petition.

The plea, which specifically referred to the “hate speeches” delivered between the “17th and 19th of December 2021 at Haridwar and Delhi”, has also sought compliance of the apex court’s guidelines to deal with such speeches.

One event was organised in Haridwar by Yati Narsinghanand and the other in Delhi by ‘Hindu Yuva Vahini’ allegedly “calling for genocide of members” of a community, it has said.

The Uttarakhand Police had filed an FIR on December 23 last year under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against some persons including Sant Dharamdas Maharaj, Sadhvi Annapoorna alias Pooja Shakun Pandey, Yati Narsinghanand and Sagar Sindhu Maharaj.

A similar complaint was filed with the Delhi Police for the second event organised in the national capital.

The plea has alleged that no effective steps have been taken by the Uttarakhand and the Delhi Police.

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