Saturday, February 24, 2024

Supreme Court directs authorities to keep check on hate speech in upcoming rallies of BJP’s Raja Singh

Supreme Court on Wednesday directed district authorities to ensure that no incidents of hate speech take place in the upcoming rallies organised by BJP MLA T Raja Singh and Hindu Janajagruti Samiti.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta was hearing pleas seeking action against hate speech and measures to curb the incidents of hate speech.

While the mass rally of Hindu Janajagruti Samiti has been scheduled on 18 January in Yavatmal of Maharashtra, from 19 to 25 January, Raja Singh has planned several public events in Raipur of Chattisgarh.

A petition filed on January 11 sought the cancellation of the events as they might probably incite hate and violence against Muslims and other minorities.

The plea highlighted Hindu Janajagruti Samiti’s active involvement in organizing events where speeches were delivered openly demonizing Muslims and calling for their social boycott and genocide.

It was also mentioned that the organisation runs a website that publishes documents and reports filled with hate propaganda such as “love jihad” to vilify minorities and instigate violence against them.

Several instances of hate speech were attached with respective proofs by the petitioner.

In addition to Janajagruti Samiti, the petition requested the court to look into a series of past instances where Raja Singh had publicly called for the killing of and violence against Muslims.

“Certainly objectionable”, the Court orally remarked after going through the previous alleged speeches.

The court further enquired whether there were FIRs filed against any of the speeches.

“They have only filed an FIR. Nothing has happened,” senior counsel Kapil Sibal replied on behalf of the petitioner.

Justice Khanna said that the court had already issued directions like keeping the venues under surveillance by measures such as installing CCTV cameras in previous cases. “Will take action if there’s any hate speech or incitement to violence, cannot pre-empt,” he added.

The court, however, asked the Yavatmal District Magistrate and Raipur Magistrate to actively consider the allegations and take action in case of violations. It was instructed that the police may install CCTV cameras to record the events so that the hate crimes and offenders could be tracked.

 “It is to be noted that persons against whom allegations have been made are not made parties. Nevertheless, in view of assertions made, we require authorities to be cautious of the fact that no incitement to violence or hate speech can be permitted. We accordingly direct the district magistrate of Yavatmal, Maharashtra and Raipur, Chhattisgarh to take notice of the allegations and take appropriate steps as required. If necessary and deemed appropriate, police will install CCTV cameras with recording facilities so that perpetrators can be identified if anything happens,” the bench ordered.

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