UP Police File Three FIRs Against Yati Narsinghanand for Derogatory Remarks About Women

The priest was booked by police following a direction from NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma.

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New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh police have reportedly lodged three FIRs against Dasna Devi temple priest Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati for making derogatory remarks against Hindu women and female politicians.

A purported video clip of the priest circulating on social media shows him sitting inside the premises of the temple and making obnoxious comments on the relationship of Hindu women with the people of another religion, Superintendent of Police (rural), Ghaziabad, Iraj Raja said, according to PTI.

The FIRs have been registered 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, Raja said.

Legal action would be initiated after completion of investigation of the matter, the officer added.

The priest was booked by police following a direction from National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Rekha Sharma. In a tweet, Sharma had asked the Uttar Pradesh Police to lodge an FIR and arrest the priest.

In a video shared after complaints against him were filed, Narsinghanand said his comments were taken out of context and the video that was shared was “heavily edited”. However, some people pointed out that the video in question was a ‘Facebook live’, and so could not have been edited before it was uploaded.

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, who have otherwise been supporting the priest while he regularly made violently anti-Muslim speeches, are now trying to distance themselves from the Narsinghanand. For example, Delhi BJP leader Kapil Mishra, who at one time raised Rs 25 lakh in support of Narsinghanand, is now calling for his arrest.

Also read: Behind the Social Media Face of a Violent Hindutva Activist Lies an Entire Ecosystem of Hate

Recently, a Delhi court had asked for an action taken report on claims that the Jamia Nagar police station refused to file an FIR against Narsinghanand in a different case – on communal speeches he had made.

As The Wire reported before, this was in relation to Narsinghanand’s statement to media organisations in which he alleged that students of certain educational institutions, including Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Millia Islamia and Darul Uloom Deoband, cannot bear true faith and allegiance to the constitution of India or uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India.

The application for an FIR also stated that Narsinghanand advocated the bombing of these institutions, intending to criminally intimidate the Muslim community. The application read, “He called for a total boycott of Muslims and their religious texts and establishing a nation free/devoid of Islam or anything associated with it.”

Previously, an FIR had also been registered against the priest for his allegedly inflammatory comments about the Prophet and Islam.

(With PTI inputs)