Hate speech is spoiling the atmosphere of the country, says SC

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The Supreme Court on Thursday said that the hate speech made against Muslims at a religious conclave held in Haridwar last year was spoiling the atmosphere of the country, Live Law reported. It also said that speakers at such events should “sensitise themselves”.

“They are spoiling the whole atmosphere,” the court remarked orally. “Stay together peacefully, enjoy the life.”

The court made the remark while hearing a bail petition filed by former Shia Waqf Board chief Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, who had converted to Hinduism and changed his name from Wasim Rizvi.

Tyagi is among more than 10 people named in the first information reports lodged in connection to the Haridwar hate speech case on January 13, according to The Wire. He was arrested on January 14. He had approached the Supreme Court after his bail plea was dismissed by the Uttarakhand High Court in March.

The case pertains to a “dharam sansad”, or religious parliament, held in Haridwar between December 17 and December 19, during which Hindutva supremacists had called upon Hindus to buy weapons to commit genocide against Muslims.

At the event, Yati Narsinghanand, the head priest of Ghaziabad’s Dasna Devi temple, had urged Hindus to pick up weapons as the “economic boycott” of Muslims will not work. He was arrested and was later granted bail in this case on February 7.

During Thursday’s hearing, the Supreme Court also issued a notice to the Uttarakhand government to file its response on Tyagi’s bail plea, according to PTI.

Senior advocate Sidharth Luthra, appearing for Tyagi, said that his client had been in custody for almost six months and is suffering from ailments. He pointed out that the maximum sentence was three years in the case filed against Tyagi.

“What further investigation you’d like to do?” the court asked the authorities, adding that the chargesheet in the case was already filed, according to Live Law.

Senior Advocate Mahmood Pracha, who appeared for the complainant Nadeem Ali, said that Tyagi was trying to send out a message that he is not afraid of the law, the Hindustan Times reported.

“We are not concerned about what happened,” the court said. “We have to take the totality of the matter – what is the punishment, how long is he in custody, etc.”

The court will hear the matter on May 20 next.

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