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Hate cases make sadhus squat

200 monks protest against cases registered against their compatriots
Sadhus at the hate conclave
Sadhus at the hate conclave
File Picture

Piyush Srivastava   |   Lucknow   |   Published 17.01.22, 02:11 AM

Over 200 sadhus began an indefinite dharna in Haridwar on Sunday to protest the cases registered against some of the speakers at the December 17-19 Dharma Sansad where calls were sounded for a genocide of Muslims.

The protest started hours after Yati Narasinghanand Saraswati, chief organiser of the Dharma Sansad, was arrested on Saturday evening for delivering a hate speech at the conclave but in a separate case that invokes lesser charges.


Waseem Rizvi aka Jitendra Narayan Tyagi was arrested on Thursday in the main 
case registered in the matter on December 24. This had prompted a hunger strike by Narasinghanand from Thursday evening.

Narasinghanand was himself arrested two days later in a case registered on a woman’s complaint that he had insulted women of a particular community in a speech at the Dharma Sansad. A court sent him to 
14 days’ judicial custody on Sunday.

Five people — Narasinghanand, Rizvi, Sadhvi Annapurna Bharati aka Pooja Shakun Pandey, Sagar Sindhu Maharaj and Mahant Dharmdas — have been booked in the main case, with Rizvi alone being arrested.

The main case invokes penal code sections 153A (promoting enmity between groups on the ground of religion) and 295 (defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), with conviction entailing a maximum jail term of five years.

The case in which Narasinghanand has been arrested involves sections 295A (outraging religious feelings) and 509 (intending to insult the modesty of any woman), with a maximum sentence of three years.

“We want the government to withdraw the cases against those who were at the Dharma Sansad,” said Mahant Kripa Das, one of the sadhus on dharna at the Sarvanand Ghat in Har Ki Paudi.

“Whatever they said was the need of the times. The government should act on the sadhus’ suggestions. Else, we shall organise a bigger meeting in Prayagraj (Allahabad) and urge people to defeat the BJP.”

Both Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, where Haridwar and Allahabad are located, are BJP-ruled states and go to the polls in a few weeks.

A third case was registered against Narasinghanand on Sunday, for an alleged attack on Wednesday on a journalist who had come from Delhi to interview him in Haridwar.

Narasinghanand is mahant of the Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, but has been camping in Haridwar for weeks.

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