Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, a sadhu who last December organised a dharm sansad in Uttarakhand where he and other speakers allegedly called for genocide against Muslims, has announced a similar convention this month in hometown Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
For now, police have denied permission but a state home department official said the monk was close to central BJP leaders and added that he was “unsure at this stage” whether the event can be prevented.
Narsinghanand had been arrested in Uttarakhand in January in connection with his speech at the Haridwar dharm sansad last December but received bail within a few days. He has since been accused of making provocative comments several times.
On Friday, he announced a dharm sansad or conclave of sadhus at the Dasna Devi Temple in Ghaziabad, where he is the mahant, on November 17 and 18.
“The police have threatened me with consequences but we have decided to hold the dharm sansad at any cost,” he told reporters.
R.C. Pant, officer in charge of Masuri police station in Ghaziabad, who had visited the temple on Thursday, said: “We have served a notice on the temple saying their programme wouldn’t be allowed. Our senior officers took the decision after the temple applied for permission.”
Narsinghanand, an accused in the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots, told reporters: “We have sent a reply to the police saying Hindus, sadhus in
particular, are angry at their behaviour. I have called a meeting of sadhus at the temple on Sunday to discuss our plans.”
A home department official said: “Narsinghanand is not in touch with any senior Uttar Pradesh politician or official, but some central government ministers and officers are known to help him. We are unsure at this stage whether he would be able to organise the event at the Ghaziabad temple.”
Narsinghanand has intermittently organised dharm sansads at several places in northern India, including Ghaziabad, over the past decade. The last two – held in Haridwar and Noida – featured inflammatory political comments and attracted the limelight.