Militant Hindutva Leader Yati Narsinghanand Arrested in 2 Cases, Sent to 14-Day Judicial Custody

The saffron-robed militant leader has been taken into custody in two separate cases – one on derogatory remarks against women and the other on hate speeches against Muslims.

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New Delhi: Yati Narsinghanand Giri (formerly Saraswati), militant Hindutva leader and mahamandaleshwar at the Juna Akhara has been arrested in Haridwar, according to Haridwar City SP Swatantra Kumar

The Hindutva leader has been sent to 14 days of judicial custody. He has been arrested in two separate cases, according to The Hindu and the Indian Express, one on derogatory comments against women and the other on hate speeches against Muslims.

First, Uttarakhand police issued a public statement saying that Narsinghanand has been arrested in connection with a case pertaining to derogatory remarks against women.

These cases are pending from September 2021, when the Uttar Pradesh police lodged three FIRs against Narsinghanand under Section 505-1(C) (intent to incite), 509 (insult the modesty of any woman), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, and Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the Information Technology Act. 

The second case follows last month’s ‘Dharma Sansad’ organised by Narsinghanand at Haridwar, where a number of religious leaders made inflammatory speeches calling for violence against Muslims amounting to genocide. Narsinghanand himself at the event announced that he would give a bounty of Rs 1 crore to the ‘next Prabhakaran’ — a reference to the leader of the Tamil Tigers, officially classified as a terrorist in India, and led the congregation in an oath calling for the killing of those who were perceived to be enemies of his religion.

“An FIR was registered recently against Yati Narsinghanand on the complaint of one Ruchika that he made objectionable remarks against women of a particular community. The complainant alleged that in some social media posts Narsinghanand is seen making these derogatory remarks on January 4 while in conversation with the media. The arrest on Saturday was primarily in connection with that FIR. However, when we presented him in court on Sunday, we showed his arrest in both the objectionable remarks case as well as the Haridwar dharma sansad case,” Haridwar City Circle Officer (CO) Shekhar Suyal told the Indian Express.

After the public outcry over the police’s failure to take cognisance of the Haridwar assembly, the Uttarakhand police arrested Waseem Rizvi, now known as Jitendra Narayan Tyagi. Police also issued notices against Yati Narsinghanand and Sadhvi Annapurna at the time, under Section 41 A of the CrPC. 

In a video taken during Tyagi’s arrest, Narsinghanand was heard telling the police, “Tum sab maroge (All of you will die),” according to NDTV. “I am with him in all the three cases. Did he do it alone?” he said.

In a viral video following this arrest, he was reported to have said, “We have no trust in the Supreme court and constitution. This constitution is book for the murder of 100 crore Hindus. Those who believe in it will be killed. Those who believe in this system, police, politicians and Army, They will die like dogs.”

On Friday, Shachi Nelli, an activist, had sought the consent of the Attorney General for India to initiate contempt proceedings against Narsinghanand for remarks against the constitution and the Supreme Court.

Narsinghanand has had a long history of hate speech and calls to violence, with the most notable being his involvement in mobilisation prior to the Delhi Riots of 2020, as investigated by The Wire, and has been part of a network of right wing affiliated individuals involved in hate crimes and anti-Muslim hate speech, as well as BJP leaders like Kapil Mishra and Ashwini Upadhyay (the latter was also present at the Haridwar Dharma Sansad). 

This story which was published on January 16 at 12:30 am has been republished at 5:30 pm with an update on Narsinghanand’s 14-day judicial custody. It was republished against at 9:30 am on January 17 with the update that he was arrested in two separate cases.