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Delhi minorities panel sends notice to Delhi Police over Dasna priest’s comments on Prophet

Delhi Minorities Commission sent notice to Delhi Police taking suo motu cognisance of Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati's comments on Prophet Muhammad; police summons priest.

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New Delhi: A week after the Delhi Police lodged an FIR against Ghaziabad’s Dasna Devi Temple’s head priest Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati for allegedly hurting religious sentiments of the Muslim community, the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC) has taken suo motu cognisance and sent a notice to the Delhi Police.

In its notice to the Delhi Police commissioner, the panel has sought a status report by 15 April.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Police Friday issued summons to Yati and asked him to join the investigation.

At a press conference by the Akhil Bharatiya Sant Parishad (Ghaziabad) on 2 April, Narsinghanand went on a tirade against Prophet Muhammad. In a video that went viral on social media, he can be heard saying, “Why can’t we speak the truth about Mohammed? If Muslims come to know the truth about Muslims then they will be ashamed of their religious identity.”

The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) has, however, said it doesn’t feel the need to act on Yati as the Delhi Police has already lodged an FIR in the matter.

While the NCM is a statutory body under the Union Ministry for Minority Affairs, the Delhi panel is a statutory body under the Delhi government. Both panels are meant to protect and safeguard the rights and interests of the centrally-notified minority communities.

Also read: How Narsinghanand, a Russian-educated, London-returned engineer, became ‘hate-spewing’ sadhu

Delhi panel vs national commission

In its notice dated 5 April, the Delhi minorities panel had said merely lodging an FIR is “not enough”.

“It is not enough to lodge an FIR. There were so many people sitting over there while the Prophet was being insulted. This only spreads religious disharmony between Hindus and Muslims. When Prime Minister Modi also speaks of the Prophet with respect, how can he [Saraswati] make such statements?” DMC Chairman Zakir Khan told ThePrint.

The DMC is also planning to send another letter to the Delhi Police commissioner against Saraswati for allegedly stoking hatred towards Muslims. “At the same event, there is another clip in which he claims that Muslims raped Hindus during the Delhi riots,” Khan alleged. “We will send that clip as well to the Delhi Police in a day or two, as this is how riots are stoked.” ThePrint was not able to locate this video.

The NCM has, however, said it doesn’t plan to take any action against Narsinghanand.

“It is an old issue and the Delhi Police have already filed an FIR. The Delhi minorities panel doesn’t know that the commission doesn’t need to do anything once the police have already taken action. Since the police have already acted [in this case], we don’t feel the need to take any action as of now. Besides we haven’t received any complaints from anyone on the matter either,” NCM Vice-Chairman Atif Rasheed told PTI.

The Delhi minorities panel, though, said the commission’s work to protect minorities doesn’t end with lodging an FIR. “It’s not enough that the police have lodged an FIR. Saraswati wasn’t alone at the press conference. There were others present as well. We want the police to tell us what action they have taken against all those people,” Khan said.

Also read: Riots changed Hindu-Muslim dynamics in NE Delhi. For some, it’s ‘hateful beyond repair’ now

Political row

Meanwhile, a political row has also erupted over Saraswati’s comments with All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) MP Asaduddin Owaisi and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Amanatullah Khan hitting out at him.

“Insulting Prophet (SAW) is unacceptable. Can these criminals acting as religious teachers get over their unnatural fixation with Islam? For something that you do not like, you do spend a lot of time on it. I’m sure there’s enough in your own belief system that you can discuss…,” he tweeted.

Tagging the Delhi Police handle, Owaisi’s next post added: “…this man is insulting Islam for the sole purpose of provoking violence against Muslims & your maun vrat is embarrassing. If you’ve forgotten your jobs, we can do a refresher course.”

Meanwhile, AIMIM MLA Jafar Hussain Meraj has lodged a complaint against Saraswati in Hyderabad for hurting the religious sentiments of Muslims. Khan, who is himelf facing an FIR for allegedly threatening the Dasna temple head priest, lodged a complaint last week in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar.

ThePrint reached Delhi Police PRO Chinmoy Biswal over telephone but did not receive a response till the publication of this report.

Saraswati was in the news last month after a 14-year-old Muslim boy who went inside the Dasna Devi Temple to have water was assaulted by the priest’s disciple.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: A year on, Delhi riot victims struggle to cope with depression, nightmares & livelihood loss


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