An FIR has been registered against a person who attended last week’s Dharma Sansad in Haridwar, but the organisers and some of those who had allegedly urged Hindus to kill Muslims to establish a Hindu Rashtra have not been named.
A Haridwar resident named Gulbahar Khan on Friday lodged the complaint with Haridwar Nagar Kotwali police station against fresh Hindu convert Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi, formerly Waseem Rizvi, and unnamed others, officer-in-charge Rakesh Kathait said.
He said the case had been registered under the Indian Penal Code’s Section 153A, which relates to “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion… and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony”. The maximum jail term is five years.
It’s unclear what Rizvi, former chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board, said at the December 17-19 conclave of sadhus and Hindutva activists.
Trinamul Congress national spokesperson Saket Gokhale suggested he too had lodged complaints with Kotwali police and the Election Commission of India, but Kathait said he had received only Gulbahar’s complaint.
“Any other complaint will be clubbed with Khan’s case,” he told reporters, adding: “We are conducting an inquiry before taking further action.”
The FIR does not name Yati Narasinghanand Saraswati, mahant of the Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad and avowed organiser of the religious conference, or Dharamdas Maharaj, a sadhu from Bihar who spoke at the event.
A video shows Narasinghanand, a VHP official and Juna Akhara member, purportedly telling the gathering: “You cannot use a mere sword to kill Muslims…. You have to upgrade technically as they have sophisticated weapons.”
In another video, Dharamdas appears to say at the conclave: “When I read that our (then) PM said Muslims had first right over national resources, I thought that if I were an MP and had a revolver, I would have become Nathuram Godse and pumped six bullets into the chest of Manmohan Singh.”
There’s no record of Manmohan Singh having ever said what Dharamdas accused him of saying.
Rizvi, who converted to Hinduism on December 8, is being probed by the CBI in connection with an alleged financial scam in the waqf board.
Several Muslims in Uttar Pradesh have over the past few months lodged police complaints against Rizvi, accusing him of maligning Islamic clerics and madrasas. After he converted to Hinduism, Narasinghanand had conducted a ritual for him at the Dasna Devi temple.
On Friday, Rizvi posted a video on Twitter in which he says in Hindi that fanatical “mullas” don’t like him.
“Earlier, Asaduddin Owaisi (AIMIM leader and MP) had registered a case against me in Hyderabad….Those doing the politics of Muslim vote bank and hoping to defeat the BJP in the election know they will fail if the Hindus are united. They are trying to weaken Hindutva to weaken the BJP,” he adds.
Narasinghanand on Friday re-tweeted a Hindi post by a Mahant Bajrangmuni Udasin, which says: “Speaking the truth doesn’t mean spreading hatred. The entire saint community stands behind Jitendra Narayan.”
Tagging Narasinghanand and the Uttarakhand police, the tweet further says: “They (the police) have to send Owaisi, Bukhari, Tauqeer, Barkati, etc, to jail before laying their hands on Jitendra Narayan.”
It’s unclear who Tauqeer and Barkati are, and whether the “Bukhari” in the tweet is Ahmed Bukhari, imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid.
Trinamul spokesperson Gokhale on Friday tweeted a copy of a letter he said he had written to the poll panel seeking action against the organisers of the Dharma Sansad and the Uttarakhand police.
The letter names Narasinghanand and some others, including some local BJP leaders, and says: “After a complaint was filed by the undersigned, an FIR was registered by the Uttarakhand police u/s 153A of the IPC but is against ‘unknown persons’. Even this was filed a whole week after the said event where hate speeches were made.”
Gokhale further tweeted: “Issued a representation to Election Commission demanding the following:
“Issue orders for transfer of all police officers from SP, Haridwar to IGP, Garhwal if speakers & organisers of #HaridwarHateAssembly aren’t arrested by date of notification of Assembly Elections.
“Initiate externment (tadipar) proceedings against the organisers & speakers at the #HaridwarHateAssembly & prevent them from entering Uttarakhand & all bordering states for the duration of Uttarakhand Elections. If ECI doesn’t act, court orders will have to be sought.”
Abhinav Kumar is the inspector-general of police (IGP), Garhwal Range, and Kamlesh Upadhyaya is superintendent of police (SP), Haridwar.