A THREE-DAY ‘Dharam Sansad’ held in Haridwar saw a series of hate speeches targeting Muslims and calling for violence and assassination.
The controversial Yati Narsinghanand, facing several FIRs in UP, called for a “war against Muslims” and urged “Hindus to take up weapons” to ensure a “Muslim didn’t become the Prime Minister in 2029.”
Former Delhi BJP spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay was among those who attended the meeting, held from December 17 to 19 and attended by heads of various religious organisations, and presented Narsinghanand a copy of the Constitution.
On Thursday night, the Uttarakhand Police said it had filed an FIR under Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups and acts prejudicial to harmony) against Waseem Rizvi and “others”. The former chairman of the Shia Waqf Board, Rizvi, recently converted to Hinduism and changed his name to Jitendra Narayan Tyagi. Police said they would be “adding more names once the investigation starts”.
After the FIR, Uttarakhand government spokesperson Subodh Uniyal said: “Whatever happened at the Haridwar Dharam Sansad was wrong. Police will take required action against those involved and responsible.”
Known for his controversial remarks targeting Muslims and accused of inciting communal tension, Narsinghanand, the head priest of a temple in Ghaziabad, had also been accused of making objectionable comments regarding women leaders in BJP.
I’ve instructed AIMIM #Uttarakhand Pres @DrNayyerkazmi1 to file a police complaint against #HaridwarHateAssembly. It’s a clear case of incitement to genocide. Our team has attempted to file it today but officers in Roorkee were unavailable due to other engagements 1/n pic.twitter.com/Pwp2JhjJY3
— Asaduddin Owaisi (@asadowaisi) December 23, 2021
The speeches at the Haridwar meeting became public Wednesday.
Narsinghanand said that once it had captured India, “Islamic jihad will be the most powerful.” He called upon Hindus to take action besides economic boycott. “Forget swords… battle will be won by those with better weapons,” he said.
Asked about his presence at the meeting, former BJP spokesperson Upadhyay told The Indian Express: “It was a three-day event and I was there for one day, during which I was on the stage for around 30 minutes and talked about the Constitution. What others said before and after me, I am not responsible for it.” He said he gave those present on the dais copies of the Constitution as it is difficult to procure one in Hindi.
On Thursday evening, Upadhyay issued a video statement that he was at the event for “10 minutes” on “the last day”. He said his purpose was to highlight the unaccomplished parts of the Constitution, “such as population control, illegal immigration control, and control of religious conversions”.
Former Uttarakhand CM and Congress poll campaign head Harish Rawat called the meeting unconstitutional. “This is an example of the kind of society we are building,” Rawat said accusing the BJP of encouraging such “elements”.
AIMIM president Asaduddin Owaisi tweeted that he had asked the party state unit to file a police complaint. “It’s a clear case of incitement to genocide,” he posted.
Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar told The Indian Express the FIR had been registered following a written complaint by a local resident. “The person who gave us the complaint gave only one name, that of Rizvi, and mentioned others as unidentified as he did not know their names. Naming only one person was not a conscious decision and we will be adding more names once the investigation starts. Action will be taken as per the law against those responsible. What happened is wrong and fully illegal. Soon after we came to know about it we initiated the FIR process,” he said.