The Delhi Police booked the organisers of a 'Hindu Mahapanchayat' held in Burari along with several speakers of the assembly, for allegedly delivering hate speeches at the event on Sunday, 3 April.
Controversial Hindutva leader and priest Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati and Chief Editor of Sudarshan News Suresh Chavhanke are among those named in the FIR.
The case has been registered under sections 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at the Mukherjee Nagar police station.
"Some of the speakers, including Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, Priest of Dasna Devi Temple and Suresh Chavhanke, Chief Editor of Sudarshan News, uttered words promoting disharmony, feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between two communities," Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) North West Delhi Usha Rangnani said in a statement.
"700-800 people gathered at the event place and invitees of the organiser started delivering speeches from the stage. Police also reached the place of the event and tried to maintain the order," DCP Rangnani said.
What Did the Speakers at the Mahapanchayat Say?
Narsinghanand, the head priest of Ghaziabad’s Dasna Devi Temple, reportedly incited the attendees of the Sunday assembly to pick up arms if India gets a Muslim prime minister.
Narsinghanand said that 40 percent Hindus will be killed if India were to get a Muslim PM. “This is the future of Hindus. If you want to change this, be a man (mard bano). What is it to be a man? Someone who is armed,” he was quoted as saying.
Narsinghanand was in February released on bail in another hate speech case against him. The right-wing leader had been booked for organising the Haridwar conclave of 2021, where rabid hate speeches were delivered against the Muslim community.
Further, Sudarshan News Editor Chavhanke said at the Mahapanchayat on Sunday that Indian Muslims should not be given the same rights as Indian Hindus. "Indian Muslims should get the same rights what Hindus are getting in Pakistan. Nothing more than that," he was quoted as saying.
Mahapanchayat Held Without Police Permission
On Saturday, 2 April, The Quint reported that the Delhi Police and land owning authority Delhi Development Authority (DDA) had denied permission to Save India Foundation to hold the 'Hindu Mahapanchayat". Despite this, the assembly convened under heavy police deployment.
The police, in a statement issued on Sunday, noted that the Mahapanchayat had been held without due permission.
"A request letter for seeking permission for organising the HIndu Mahapanchayat Sabha was received in North-West District from organiser Preet Singh, President, Save India Foundation. The request was denied by the North-West District police on the ground that the organizer had no permission from the land-owning agency, ie, DDA for organizing this Sabha in Burari Ground."DCP (North West) Usha Rangani
"Despite the denial by Delhi Police, today on 03.04.2022, organiser Preet Singh reached the Burari Ground with his supporters and started organising the Hindu Mahapanchayat Sabha... Police reached the place of the event and tried to maintain the order," the DCP said in a statement.
Journalists Assaulted by Mob at Hindu Mahapanchayat, 2 FIRs Filed
In two separate incidents, journalists were assaulted by right-wing mobs at the Hindu Mahapanchayat event in North West Delhi's Burari on Sunday.
In one of the incidents, involving Newslaundry's reporters Shivangi Saxena and Ronak Bhat, an FIR has been filed under Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) of the IPC.
In the other incident, two journalists were beaten up and The Quint's principal correspondent Meghnad Bose was manhandled by a mob. The police then whisked away five journalists, including the three mentioned above, from the event around 1:30 pm. They were taken to the Mukherjee Nagar police station, where they are presently giving their statements.
Apart from Bose, the other journalists are Meer Faisal, who works at The Hindustan Gazette, photojournalist Mohd Meherbaan, freelance journalist Arbab Ali, and a fifth journalist, who does not want to be named.
An FIR under IPC sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint) have been registered in relation to this incident, as per the police.