SC Grants Bail to Jitendra Narayan Tyagi in Haridwar Hate Speech Case

A division bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and B.V. Nagarathna granted bail subject to the condition that Tyagi would not address any electronic media.

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday, September 13, granted bail to Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, an accused in the Haridwar Dharma Sansad case related to alleged inflammatory speeches made against Muslims.

A bench of Justices Ajay Rastogi and B.V. Nagarathna directed Tyagi, formerly known as Wasim Rizvi, to furnish an undertaking before the trial court that he will not address electronic media or social media and shall not indulge in such alleged activities anymore, directly or indirectly.

“The petitioner may be produced before the trial court within three days and shall be released on post-arrest bail subject to such terms and conditions to the satisfaction of the concerned trial court and furnishing undertaking in above terms before the trial court.

“If the petitioner violates or commits a breach of any of the conditions on which bail has been granted to him, the respondents/prosecution is at liberty to move an application seeking cancellation of bail,” the bench said.

On August 29, the top court had refused to extend the interim bail granted earlier on medical grounds and directed Tyagi to surrender. The apex court on May 17 had granted three months of interim bail to Tyagi on medical grounds and directed him to give an undertaking that he would not indulge in hate speech and not give any statement on electronic or digital or social media.

Tyagi had approached the top court after the Uttarakhand high court dismissed his bail plea in March this year. He was arrested on January 13 after he was booked under Sections 153A and 298 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

In March, Justice Ravindra Maithani of Uttarakhand high court had refused his bail. “The Prophet has been abused; it intends to wound the religious feelings of persons belonging to a particular religion; it intends to wage war. It promotes enmity. It is a hate speech,” Justice Maithani said, according to Livelaw.in.

Tyagi, the former chairperson of the Shia Waqf Board who converted to Hinduism in December 2021, changed his name from Wasim Rizvi to Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi.

The case against Tyagi and others had been lodged on the complaint of Nadeem Ali, a resident of Jwalapur Haridwar at Haridwar Kotwali on January 2 this year.

He had alleged in his complaint that Dharma Sansad or religious parliament was organised in Haridwar by Hindu sages from December 17 to 19 last year. “In the garb of this event, the participants were instigated to wage a war against Muslims.”

Objectionable words were allegedly used against the Holy Quran and Prophet Mohammad, Ali had said in his complaint, adding these provocative statements had later gone viral on social media.

These videos were circulated by Tyagi, Yati Narsinghanand, and others, he had alleged.

The first information report (FIR) also alleged that an attempt was made by Prabodhanand Giri to spread violence against the people living in Haridwar’s mosques.

On Ali’s complaint, Narsindhanand Giri, Sagar Sindhu Maharaj, Dharamdas Maharaj, Parmanand Maharaj, Sadhvi Annapurna, Swami Anand Swaroop, Ashwani Upadhyay, Suresh Chavan along with Swami Prabodhanand Giri, Jitendra Narayan were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for allegedly delivering hate speeches in the name of religion at the conclave.

Between December 17 and 19, 2021, a large number of major religious leaders, right-wing activists, hardline fundamentalist militants and Hindutva organisations came together for ‘Dharma Sansad’. Over the course of three days, this event witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of hate speech, mobilisations to violence and anti-Muslim sentiment.

(With PTI inputs)