A group of former judges, IPS officers and jurists on Friday made a passionate plea to the Chief Justice of India and all the other judges of the Supreme Court of India, urging them to take suo motu constitutional action on the alarming and threatening statements being made by persons currently in powerful positions within the Union government. In the letter, the signatories explain that the “distressing and hate-filled” sentiments that have been expressed appear to be part of a pattern. After listing a number of incidents, the letter emphasises that because “it is the ruling party at the Centre and its representatives” that are stoking these dangerous sentiments, the Supreme Court must act urgently.
The full text and list of signatories follows.
The Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, TS THakur and
All Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court of India,
Supreme Court of India
Hon’ble Chief Justice Sir
& All Other Hon’ble Judges of the Supreme Court of India,
We wish to bring to the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s and through it to the nation’s attention and specifically solicit suo motu constitutional action on the issue of the alarming and threatening statements being made by persons currently in power constitutional positions within the union government. These statements seem part of a pattern.
2. These statements have caused fear and insecurity among India’s citizens, the marginalized sections, especially minorities, Dalits and Adivasis.
3. We annexe here a news report titled “Muslims warned of ‘final battle”, where in the presence of a minister of state in the central government and a member of parliament (MP) of the ruling party, Muslims were equated to “demons” and “descendants of Ravana”, and were warned of a “final battle” (Annexure 1).
4. According to this prominent news report that was published as a lead story in the Indian Express dated February 29, 2016, the speakers at a public meeting reportedly urged Hindus to “corner Muslims and destroy the demons (rakshas)”, while declaring that “all preparations” had been made to effect “badla (revenge)” before the 13th-day death rituals for Mahaur. “Human skulls would be offered to his martyrdom,” VHP district secretary Ashok Lavania, who has been jailed earlier for assaults on Muslims, reportedly said.
5. Talking about the coming Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, BJP MLA Jagan Prasad Garg reportedly told the crowd, “You will have to fire bullets, you will have to take up rifles, you will have to wield knives. Elections are approaching in 2017, begin showing your strength from now onwards.” The 5,000-odd crowd chanted slogans such as “Jis Hindu ka khoon na khaule, khoon nahin wo pani hai (Any Hindu whose blood does not boil isn’t Hindu enough)”.
6. The member of parliament (MP) of the BJP, Babulal reportedly urged an open fight with Muslims, and said: “Don’t try to test us… We will not tolerate insults to the community. We do not want unrest at any cost, but if you want to test Hindus, then let’s decide a date and take on Muslims.”
7. Another leader of the same party, BJP from Agra, Kundanika Sharma reportedly said, “We want the heads of these traitors, the killers of Arun Mahaur,”. “This is not the time to sit quiet. Chhapa maaro, burqa pehno, lekin inhen gher-gher kar le aao. Ek sar ke badle dus sar kaat lo” (Raid them, wear burqas, but corner them. Behead ten in revenge for one head).”
- The VHP district secretary Ashok Lavania reportedly said, “Ultimately it becomes an act of the society. Once people are galvanised, no question would be raised at all. In cases like Ram Janmbhoomi, Muzaffarnagar, the party had disappeared. But it is certain that revenge will be taken before the terahvin (13th day) is over. Khoon ka badla khoon (Blood for blood). Action will obviously be in Mantola area (where Mahaur was killed), but also across Agra. Wherever Hindus are in majority, it will happen. We are fully prepared. If they retaliate, then it will be a mahasangram, Mahabharat. The final battle.”
9. “During Kali worship, narmund (human skulls) are offered after beheading demons. Before his terhavin, the Hindu community will perform a similar act and offer these narmunds. I am confident,” Lavania said.
10. The VHP leader Surendra Jain reportedly claimed they would now dispense their own justice, and asked his members to form Gau Raksha Samitis (cow protection units) in every village and asked the administration to “not thwart their efforts as they are doing the administration’s work”. “If anyone, even the IG here, has any doubt about the law, they can approach me. I will show them the clauses of the IPC that say if you (police) do not perform your duty then common citizens can take law in their own hands.”
11. Jagmohan Chahar, the Bajrang Dal district coordinator, reportedly dared Muslims “to come out in the open”.
12. The fact that this report in The Indian Express refers to an upcoming election in the state of Uttar Pradesh (2017) and elections in several states this year, bodes ill for social harmony and peace.
13. The fact that it is the ruling party at the Centre and its representatives at the Central and local level who are stoking these dangerous sentiments that amount to nothing else than incitement to violence, deem it necessary that we, as citizens concerned for the future of the country, urge the Hon’ble Supreme Court to urgently act.
13. The fundamental rights of the people under Article 14, 19, 21 and 25 of the Indian Constitution need to be protected.
14. We urge therefore that the Hon’ble Supreme takes suo motu notice of this and issues strict directions that protect the fundamental rights of all Indians.
15. The minister, the MP, the MLA and all other culprits need to be punished for violating their constitutional duty under Article 51A(e) to promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India transcending religious diversities.
16. The offenders need to be proceeded against under Sections 124A, 153A, 153B, 292, 293, 295A, 505 of the Indian Penal Code.
17. We also urge the Hon’ble Supreme Court that a Permanent and Sitting Commission be appointed to monitor and oversee (video tape, record and document) all such meetings happening to prevent a situation of hate driven provocation and attacks on marginalized sections. Our country is being pushed to the brink with these kinds of statements.
18. We also list below a list of distressing and hate-filled sentiments made by ministers and elected representatives, and office bearers of the party in power, since May 2014 revealing that the present report is not an aberration but part of a dangerous and sinister pattern.
19. The references given below are brief and illustrative. For each of the speakers, there are at least four or more objectionable statements that we would gladly make available to the appropriate forum.
Names of Signatories:
Justice (retired) PB Sawant
Julio Ribeiro (former IPS officer)
Justice (retired) Rajinder Sachar
Justice (retired) BG Kolse Patil
Justice (retired) Hosbet Suresh
Iqbal Chagla (senior counsel)
Cyrus Guzder (businessman)
PM Bhargava (scientist)
Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood (President, Zakat Foundation of India)
Reverend Fr Dr Packiam T Samuel
Janak Dwarkadas (senior counsel)
Navroz H Seervai (senior counsel)
Anil Dharker (senior journalist)
IM Kadri (architect)
SM Mushrif (former inspector general of police).
Other references to hate speeches were submitted in a CD to the Supreme Court of India:
1. MOS, HRD Katheria, warned of ‘final battle’ at Sangh meet. Katheria says, “We’ve to show our strength.” BJP MP, MLAs also present at meet; Muslims called “traitors”, “demons”, Hindus told to pick up “guns” for poll.
2. MOS External Affairs VK Singh: “If somebody throws a stone at a dog, then the government is responsible?.” The retired general and Union minister said this in response to the murder of two Dalit children in Faridabad; November, 2015.
3. MOS Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti, at a public rally during Delhi elections, December 2014: “People of Delhi have to decide whether they want a government of Ramzaadas (followers of Ram) or haraamzaadas”.
4. BJP MP, Yogi Adityanath, at a public meeting against alleged the ‘Love Jihad’ of Muslims, August 2014. “If they take one Hindu girl, we will take at least 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, we will kill 100 Muslims”.
5. MOS Giriraj Singh: “Those opposed to Modi should go to Pakistan”
6. BJP MP, Sakshi Maharaj, September 2014: “Education of terrorism is being given in madrassas. They (madrassas)… are making them terrorists and jihadis….It is not in national interest”.
7. BJP president, Amit Shah, at an election rally in Bihar, October 2015: “If BJP loses Bihar elections, crackers will be burst in Pakistan”
8. MOS for parliamentary affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, during a TV programme; May 2015, “All those who desperately want to eat beef should go to Pakistan”.
9. RSS chief, Mohan Bhagwat, , at the golden jubilee celebration of VHP in Mumbai, August 2014: “Hindustan is a Hindu nation…Hindutva is the identity of our nation and it (Hinduism) can incorporate others (religions) in itself”.