Gurgaon court ruling may curb flagrant use of hate speech

500 pc rise in hate speech by VIPs in 2014-2017: NDTV report


July 20, 2021

/ By / New Delhi

Gurgaon court ruling may curb flagrant use of hate speech

According to a report by poll rights group ADR, 42 pc of the 78 ministers in the Cabinet have criminal proceedings against them

Recent ruling by a Gurgaon court that denied bail to a person accused of making hate speeches may at last put some checks on the widespread practice of hate speech in India.

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“Hate speech based on religion or caste has become fashionable nowadays,” Judicial Magistrate First Class Mohammad Sageer said recently while denying bail application of 19-year-old Ram Bhakt Gopal Sharma who had been arrested a week earlier for allegedly making hate speeches. At a gathering in Pataudi village of Gurgaon, Sharma was alleged to have called for abduction and killing of Muslim girls.

“The conscience of the court is utterly shocked by the footage of the teenager’s remarks at Pataudi. In dealing with such events, the police likewise appear powerless. These types of actions are essentially disrupting our country’s secular fabric and destroying the spirit of the Indian Constitution,” magistrate Sageer wrote in his 11-page order, adding, “the alleged offences committed by the accused person are very serious and severe in nature and that at this juncture, the accused’s right to personal liberty cannot be preferred against the society’s right to peaceful communal harmony and balance lies in favour of the later”.

Incidentally, Sharma is also accused of firing at anti-CAA protesters near Jamia Millia Islamia university in New Delhi in February 2020, leaving one student wounded. Sharma was reported to have said “Main Deta Hoon Azaadi” (I will give you freedom) while shooting at the protestors, even as a large contingent of Delhi Police stood by and watched, barely a few metres away.

Like in many other parts of the world, incidents of hate speech have become far more common in India over the past few years, with politicians, especially several members of the right wing Bharatiya Janata Party openly using it to garner Hindu votes by inflaming class divisions, Islamophobia, and communal animosity.

Last year in January 2020, amid the CAA protest that had been organised at two key locations in New Delhi — Shaheen Bagh and the Jawaharlal Nehru University. According to “Report of the Fact-Finding Committee on the North-East Delhi Riots of February 2020,” violence erupted in parts of North East Delhi on February 23, shortly after BJP leader Kapil Mishra gave a short speech calling for forcibly removing anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protesters from Jaffrabad. Not only Kapil Mishra but members of BJP supporters at the spot also broke out over the district, shouting chants such as “Har Har Modi,” and “Modi ji, kaat do in mullon ko (Modi, chop these Muslims into pieces)” and “Aaj tumhe azadi denge (today, we will give you freedom).” Incidentally, Union Information & Broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur also led a mob at the site shouting “Desh ke gaddaron ko, Goli maaro saalon ko’’ (Shoot the traitors), in a thinly-veiled reference to the protestors at the anti-CAA gathering.

“Some of India’s political leaders use their power, and their words to spread hate, most often focused on fuelling Islamophobia, communal divisions. The list of communal speeches by politicians is long this year of Covid-19, elections, communal violence, protests,” says Sabrang, a journal launched by renowned activists Teesta Setalvad and Javed Anand.

“There has been a drastic increase in the hate speeches being made in public arenas ever since the BJP has come into power. And a main reason behind that is the fact that a majority of the elected leaders in BJP has some or the other criminal background,” Mohsin Qureshi, a Delhi High Court lawyer, tells Media India Group.

A research by NDTV, a leading television news-channel, says that under Modi government, VIP hate speech, or hate speech by important leaders, skyrocketed by 500 pc in 2014-2017, since the advent of Modi as prime minister in May 2014. This, says Qureshi, reflects the quality of elected representatives in the country in the recent years. According to a report by poll rights group ADR, 42 pc of the 78 ministers in the Cabinet have criminal proceedings against them, with four having instances relating to attempted murder.

“It’s the moral and legal responsibility of the voters to check the background of representatives before electing them, if we choose such leaders then hate speech and communal outrage is the only thing we can expect from them,” says Qureshi.

Indian laws and the Constitution have several stringent provisions against hate speech and divisive politics. But the challenge in India, as usual, is about the implementation of these laws stringently against those indulging in hate speech and divisive politics, says Qureshi. “Every time a hate speech is made its made in public and in front of the supporters of some particular political or communal background, so when the FIR is filled against such cases, during investigation the whole story gets changed. And if by chance any kind of proof is produced then the political pressure is made on police to close the case,” he sums up.

With poor implementation of law and encouragement by political leaders for their followers to turn to hate speech and threats, little wonder then that people like Ram Bhakt Gopal Sharma turn to guns and hatred.

Sabrang has listed 10 most prominent cases of hate speeches made by various BJP leaders in the recent past.

  1. Desh ke ghaddaron ko, goli maaron s****n ko: Anurag Thakur, Member of Parliament, Minister of Information and Broadcast.
  2. These people will enter your houses, rape your sisters & daughters, kill them: Parvesh Verma, Member of Parliament
  3. If the roads are not cleared, we will have to come onto the roads: Kapil Mishra, BJP member
  4. If the roads are not cleared, we will have to come onto the roads: Kapil Mishra, BJP member
  5. Why not call ‘lower castes’ by their name: Pragya Thakur, Member of Parliament
  6. You will either go to hospital or crematorium: Dilip Ghosh, Bengal BJP chief
  7. Defeat of Mughals couldn’t be attained during preparation of NRC: Himanta Biswa Sarma
  8. Theatres will burn if Komaram Bheem shown in Muslim outfit: Sanjay Kumar, MP, Telangana BJP chief
  9. Control of state power by Hindus is absolutely essential for sustenance of Dharma: Tejasvi Surya, Member of Parliament, Karnatak
  10. If you don’t mend your ways, ‘Ram naam satya’ journey will begin: Adityanath, CM Uttar Pradesh



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