This Hindutva Leader Keeps Inciting Communal Hatred. Why is He Still a Free Man?
Dasna temple priest Narsinghanand Saraswati keeps inciting communal hatred that violates several IPC sections.
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(This story was first published on 18 August and has been republished in context of Ghaziabad police filing three FIRs against Dasna temple priest Narsinghanand for making offensive comments against women.)
Narsinghanand Saraswati, the chief priest at Dasna temple in Ghaziabad, has been spreading hate between communities for years. He has been accused of being linked with several communal incidents in the past 6 months. His speeches and actions have been in direct violation of several sections under the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Yet, he faces no legal action.
In June 2021, Narsinghanand admitted to the police about making abusive comments against Prophet Mohammed at a press conference. After outrage, Delhi police had taken suo motu cognisance and filed an FIR against him under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity) and 295A (acts intended to outrage religious feelings).
It has been two months since his admission. 153A lays down punishment up to 5 years and for 295A, the punishment is upto 3 years. Yet, he faces no legal action.
Given the prima facie evidence and Narsinghanand's position where he could potentially influence the investigation, did the police not think it would be better to keep him in custody till the investigation was completed?
On 8 August, the National Commission of Women wrote to Uttar Pradesh DGP to take action against Narsinghanand for making insulting comments against women.
In the run up to the Delhi riots in February, there have been video evidences of several incendiary speeches made by Narsinghanand Saraswati. Since December 2019, Narsinghanand had been mobilising Hindu youths and propagating hate against Muslims during meetings, at Jantar Matar pro-CAA protests and through social media videos. And yet, he faced no legal action.
While activists from the anti-CAA camp have been charged with UAPA by the same Delhi police in the Delhi riots cases, Narsinghanand's name does not even feature in any of the riot charge sheets.
Just a quick scan of Narsinghanand's social media account shows he regularly posts content spreading hate and calling for violence against Muslims. Such posts violate the IPC 153A and 295A. And yet, Narsinghanand Saraswati faces no legal action.
For years, Narsinghanand's name has been coming up with different communal activities and tensions across West UP. A documentary by The Quint in 2015 had filmed Narsinghanand's aides giving weapons training to Hindu youth to prepare for what they called 'the war against Islam.'
In March 2021, he stood by his followers who beat up a young Muslim kid for entering the premises of Dasna temple in Ghaziabad. Simply on the basis of suspicion. He said, "They are my followers. It doesn't matter how long they follow me for. But, they are my followers."
A month later, he supported another of his followers for demolishing a Sai Baba temple claiming he was a Muslim.
On 8 August, Hindutva supporters gathered at Delhi's Jantar Mantar and raised anti-Muslim slogans. On 5 August, Narsinghanand had posted a video urging his supporters to gather at the rally.
When The Quint visited the Dasna temple in March, there were two policemen deployed for Narsinghanand's protection. He claims there is a constant threat to his life. In June when he complained about a potential attack, the police arrested two suspects.
What then stops the police from acting to protect the lives of those for whom Narsinghanand and his followers pose a constant threat with their speeches, meetings and activities?
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