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HomeIndia‘Communal slurs, people beaten’ at Delhi Hindu Mahapanchayat, police say they gave...

‘Communal slurs, people beaten’ at Delhi Hindu Mahapanchayat, police say they gave no permission

At the Mahapanchayat in Burari, Haridwar hate speech accused Yati Narsinghanand tells Hindus to ‘pick up arms’ and prevent India from getting a Muslim PM.

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New Delhi: Communal slurs were allegedly hurled and some journalists claimed they were physically assaulted at a ‘Hindu Mahapanchayat’ organised in the national capital’s Burari area Sunday, even as Delhi Police said they had denied permission for the event. 

Among those who attended the event organised by one Preet Singh, who heads a body called the ‘Save India Foundation’ was Haridwar hate speech accused Yati Narsinghanand, who purportedly told the attendees that if the country were to get a Muslim prime minister, 40 per cent Hindus “will be killed”. He also allegedly exhorted Hindus to “take up arms”.

Pinky Chaudhary, chief of fringe group Hindu Raksha Dal, Sushil Tiwari, head of the Hindu Army, which refers to itself as a “nationalist organisation”, and Suresh Chavhanke, editor-in-chief of Sudarshan TV, were also present at the event.

According to the Delhi Police, the organisers were not granted permission to hold the event, but still went ahead with it.

A source in the police said that they are in the process of registering a case under relevant IPC sections for ‘inciting hate’ and ‘promoting disharmony, enmity between groups on the basis of religion’. Action will also be taken in connection with those allegedly assaulted at the venue.

“Firstly, they went ahead and held the event without permission. Secondly, there are allegations of people being beaten up. Sections in connection with promoting disharmony between groups on basis of religious and hate speech are also being invoked. We will investigate the case thoroughly,” the source added.

Some journalists who arrived to cover the event took to Twitter alleging that they were refused entry because of their Muslim identity, while others were assaulted. Some journalists also claimed to have been detained by the police. However, DCP (North-West) Usha Rangrani responded saying that the journalists got into the police vans “willingly” to “evade the crowd that was getting agitated by their presence”.

The event’s organiser, Preet Singh, was arrested in August last year as one of the organisers of another event at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar, where inflammatory slogans were allegedly raised against Muslims. Both Narsinghanand and Singh are out on bail in the Haridwar ‘Dharam Sansad’ and Jantar Mantar cases respectively.

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Narsinghanand’s speech

In one of the videos purportedly taken at the event, which could not be independently verified by ThePrint, Narsinghanand is allegedly heard saying that if the country were to get a Muslim PM, “50 per cent of you (Hindus) will change your faith in the next 20 years and 40 per cent “would be killed”.

“This is the future of Hindus. If you want to change this, be a man (mard bano). What is it to be a man? Someone who is armed,” he reportedly told the gathering.

“Just make kids. Go now, and those who can make kids, just do it now! And then make them capable of fighting. Hindus with pot bellies are of no use. If you (Hindu) do not want a fight between Hindus and Muslims, there’s just one way…,” he was also allegedly seen saying in another video clip of his speech.

Narsinghanand is head of the influential Dasna Devi Temple in Uttar Pradesh. He was one of several leaders who spoke at a ‘Dharam Sansad’ (religious congregation) in Haridwar in December last year, where he allegedly issued a call to take up arms against Muslims.

He was arrested in January, and released on bail in February. 

Journalists allege religious discrimination, assault

Independent journalist Arbab Ali, who arrived to cover the event for Article14, alleged that he was not allowed to do so by the organisers, even after he showed them his press card and a letter from the news organisation.

“It doesn’t matter. You’re a Muslim,” Arbab claims to have been told.

In a series of posts on Twitter, Arbab claimed that while he and fellow journalist Meer Faisal, were taking videos and recording interviews, they were accosted by a “group of right-wingers”.


He further claimed that the group called him and Faisal “jihadis”, before “making them delete all the footage” from their devices. “Two female police officers and two male policemen in plain clothes came to us and forcefully took us away to a secluded place,” Arbab wrote on Twitter.

“The policemen were pushing both of us. We had no idea who they were. We thought they were also part of the Hindu mob and would soon attack us. We both were followed by a mob of around 150 right-wingers. They were calling us and saying that we’ll be beaten,” Arbab added.

Arbab claimed that the police pushed him and Faisal into a police van, which was then “surrounded” by a “mob” which was trying to push its way into the vehicle. 

@MeghnadBose93 came inside the van and asked the police to take us away. Suddenly, the van door was opened and a right winger came inside and punched the policeman sitting next to us. An injured @mdmeharban03 and another journalist came inside the police van. The police took us away to Mukherjee PS (police station),” he tweeted.

Meghnad Bose, a journalist with The Quint, too claimed that he had been detained by the police along with Arbab, Faisal and a few others.

The Delhi Police has however denied detaining journalists. DCP North-West Rangrani responded to Bose on Twitter: “Some of the reporters, willingly, on their own free will to evade the crowd which was getting agitated by their presence sat in PCR van stationed at the venue and opted to proceed to police station for security reasons. No one was detained. Due police protection was provided. For spreading misinformation, due necessary action shall be initiated against such persons (sic).”

Meanwhile, journalists Shivangi Saxena and Raunak Bhat, who were covering the Mahapanchayat for Newslaundry, alleged that they were assaulted and manhandled at the event.

Delhi Police registered an FIR Sunday night, against unknown persons under sections of molestation, assault, theft etc., based on Saxena’s complaint.

In a tweet Sunday, Saxena alleged, “One held me from the back, groped me, other held my hand and the fourth man was snatching my mobile.”

She also accused police personnel  present at the event of doing nothing to help her. “This was happening in front of police who was doing NOTHING. I was repeatedly pulled and stopped from recording. Police was standing just next to me,” she wrote.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

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