File “Better Affidavit”: Court On Delhi Police’s “No Hate Speech” Stand

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A speech at an Hindu Yuva Vahini event in Delhi that called for a “Hindu Rashtra (Hindu nation)” at all costs was “not hate speech”, the Delhi Police had told the Supreme Court last week. The Supreme Court today expressed dissatisfaction at the Delhi Police statement and called for a “better affidavit”.
The Delhi Police conceded before the Supreme Court that it needed a relook at its affidavit that said no hate speech was made at a “Dharma Sansad” held in the capital on December 19, and said it would file a better one.

At the event, Sudarshan News TV Chief Editor Suresh Chavhanke had urged people to take an oath and had said: “Hindu rashtra ke liye ladenge, marenge aur zarurat padi toh maaarenge (We all pledge to make this country a Hindu nation. We will fight for it, die for it and, if needed. also kill for it).”

The event was organised by the rightwing group Hindu Yuva Vahini.

Senior lawyer Kapil Sibal today flagged the Delhi Police affidavit, which said, “Their motive was to save the ethics of the community.”

“What does this mean,” Mr Sibal questioned.

“This affidavit has been filed by the Deputy Commissioner of Police. Does he approve of this stand? or has he just reproduced the inquiry report by sub inspector level,” asked Justice AM Khanwilkar.

The Supreme Court said the fresh Delhi Police affidavit must be filed by May 4.

In the previous hearing last week, the Delhi Police had told the court that in its inquiry into the alleged hate speech video, it had found that “there is no use of such words which mean or could be interpreted as ‘open calls for genocide of Muslims in order to achieve ethnic cleansing or an open call for murder of an entire community”.

The police statement said, “In-depth investigation of the video and other material found that no hate speech was given against any community. Therefore, after investigation and evaluation of the purported video clip, it was concluded that the alleged speech contained no hate speech against a particular community.”

The Supreme Court is hearing a petition seeking an independent probe into alleged hate speeches targeting the Muslim community delivered at the “Dharm Sansads (religious gatherings) in Haridwar and Delhi. The plea was filed by former High Court judge and senior advocate Anjana Prakash and journalist Qurban Ali.

Between December 17 and 19, at two events organised in Delhi (by the Hindu Yuva Vahini) and Haridwar (by Yati Narsinghanand), saw hate speeches including open calls for violence against Muslims.

The Delhi Police also told the Supreme Court in its controversial affidavit that the event and speeches in Delhi were about empowering one’s religion and face evils that could endanger its existence.

The police also claimed that there must be “tolerance to the views of others.”

“We must practise tolerance to the views of others. Intolerance is as much dangerous to democracy as to the person himself. Petitioner is trying to draw an incorrect and absurd inference by isolated passages disregarding the main theme and its message. Supreme Court has repeatedly said that freedom of expression must be allowed unless community interest is endangered. In this case, the public interest is not endangered,” said the Delhi Police.

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