Hate Speech Condemnation And Action By Police Must Not Be Ever Selective
We all know fully well how the Supreme Court just very recently assured the high profile Congress leader and one of India’s most eminent and senior advocate who is none other than Kapil Sibal himself (and who as Union Law Minister had strongly recommended that High Court Bench must be created in West UP at Meerut even though his most commendable recommendation was not implemented in UPA’s regime) that it would take up a PIL demanding action against those who indulged in hate speech and gave calls for armed action against minority community at congregations in Haridwar and Delhi on December 17 and 21 in 2021. CJI NV Ramana told Sibal who mentioned the plea filed by Delhi resident Qurban Ali and senior advocate Anjana Prakash that, “We will take up the matter”. It cannot be lightly dismissed that 76 lawyers urged CJI NV Ramana to take suo moto action against Hindutva hardliners who gave a genocide call against Muslims.
Not the one to be left behind, senior and eminent Supreme Court lawyer – Mahesh Jethmalani too called on the government to punish those guilty of the recent hate speeches delivered during a conclave in Haridwar in Uttarakhand. Mahesh minced just absolutely no words to make it known to one and all that, “I am an ardent believer in the right to propagate Hindutva as argued by my late father in the Supreme Court and accepted in that landmark case. But the speeches at Haridwar are a subversion of Hindutva and a flagrant violation of criminal law. UP government needs to punish the guilty with urgency.”
Needless to say, Kapil Sibal submitted before the Apex Court Bench headed by CJI NV Ramana which also included Justice Surya Kant and Justice Hima Kohli that, “I have moved this PIL in respect of what happened in Dharam Sansad in Haridwar on 17 and 19 December. We are living in different times where slogans in the country have changed from Satyamev Jayate (truth alone wins) to Shashtramev Jayate (those with arms only win).” To this, the CJI asked Sibal if any inquiry into the case was already on. Sibal replied observing that, “Two FIRs have been filed but no arrests have been made yet. This is the state of Uttarakhand. No action will be taken without the intervention of your Lordships.” At this, the CJI assured Sibal that, “Okay, we will look into this.”
No religion in this world ever teaches hatred. It is only and only vested leaders with vested interests who always find an excuse to spread hatred. Dean Swift was absolutely right when he once famously said that, “We have just enough religion to make us hate one another but not enough to make us love one another.” It is vested leaders who for furthering their own narrow vested and political interests make religion the opium of the masses and make them believe that their religion is in danger if they failed to act against people of another particular religion with full force.
The most troubling question is: Why is it that we see police most often fails on one pretext or the other to take any action against those who deliver hate speeches? Why is it that we are seeing in last couple of years that a new trend has emerged of announcing cash award on the head of someone for saying something against a particular religion or for slapping him or for cutting his throat etc? It merits no reiteration that all such hate speeches deserve zero tolerance and it is the bounden duty of the police to always act impartially in all such cases!
Most commendably, I am most pleased to learn that a group of 32 former Indian diplomats including eminent former Foreign Secretary – Kanwal Sibal who is also the elder brother of eminent lawyer Kapil Sibal have minced just no words to say that, “Condemnation of hate speech must be universal, and not selective.” In an open letter, they said that, “All calls for violence must be unequivocally condemned regardless of their religious, ethnic, ideological or regional origin. Double standards and selectivity in condemnation raises questions about motives and morality.”
It would be imperative to mention here that the letter then also says that, “The latest example of this is the manner in which these miscellaneous elements have latched on to some objectionable anti-minority statements made at a religious gathering at Haridwar in mid-December. These should be condemned by all right thinking people no doubt, but when the import of these is exaggerated out of all proportion and the rantings by fringe elements are seen as representative of the sentiments prevailing in ruling circles, and as laying the agenda of what lies ahead at the national level, then the political leanings and moral integrity of the critics can be rightly questioned.”
Needless to say, as we can see also for ourselves that besides Kanwal Sibal, among the eminent signatories in the letter include former High Commissioner to Bangladesh – Veena Sikri, former Deputy Executive Director at UN Women – Lakshmi Puri and former ambassador to the Netherlands – Bhaswati Mukherjee. It is also stated in the letter most clearly, concisely and cogently that, “A tirade of accusations and calumny has been let loose in an effort to falsely portray the Haridwar speeches as a force very much larger than the fringe groups they represent.”
Who is Imran Khan to meddle uninvited in India’s internal affairs and criticize PM Narendra Modi for silence on Haridwar hate speeches while conveniently ignoring how Hindus are being killed and temples broken time and again in Pakistan? He is PM of Pakistan whom former Supreme Court Judge – Justice Markandey Katju had termed a “fake country” as it was created solely on basis of religion and the stark truth which Imran glosses over is that India has more Muslims than Pakistan and it is never possible to separate Hindus from Muslims ever at least in India! If Imran is really so much concerned about Indian Muslims then he should merge India and Pakistan as India was prior to the deadly partition of 1947 on most stupid basis of religion and which is the root cause of so much of hatred among people of both the religions and this will ensure that Muslims in India travel freely to Pakistan and visit Karachi, Peshwawar and appear in different exams there also! When this he can’t ensure then why is he so much worried about Indian Muslims?
To say the least: How population of Hindus have dwindled so much in Pakistan due to being made to suffer endlessly and so rapidly and how population of Muslims has increased in India is too well known to all of us! So Imran Khan should just stop worrying about India and start ensuring that temples of Pakistan are rebuilt which have been broken at least in his term as PM! It cannot be however denied that such hate speeches against Muslims by Hindu hardliners as we saw in Haridwar gives Imran Khan the golden opportunity to meddle in our internal affairs even though it is none of his business! But Imran Khan must always remember what my best friend Sageer Khan used to say time and again to me from 1993 to 1995 that, “Muslims enjoy maximum freedom and liberty in India than in any other country in the world. In Pakistan there is unrest in Sind, Karachi, Balochistan and so also in PoK and Muslims who migrated to Pakistan are called Mohajjirs and are grossly discriminated against and Shia Muslims to whom its creator Mohammad Ali Jinnah belongs are most unsafe and keep getting killed time and again. Pakistan itself got partitioned in 1971 less than 24 years after 1947 and India is still one and mark my words that India will always remain so!”
Of course, it is very good to learn that Centre is now planning to make many extensive reforms in our criminal laws as Union Home Minister Amit Shah had disclosed some time back and invited suggestions also from the relevant stakeholders. The first reform that must be made is that hate speech by which people are provoked to indulge in violence must be outlawed immediately for one and all of us in India. The punishment must start from minimum two years in jail and if riots happen because of such hate speech then they should be either sent behind bars for life or hanged! Those who spread hatred and vitiate the peaceful atmosphere by their irresponsible utterances must not be at large in open but must be behind bars in different jails!
No doubt, the impunity with which hate speeches are made time and again is a matter of utmost concern and calls for prompt action against all those who make such speeches so that no one feels that they are above the law of the land! Such hate mongers have to be reined in no matter how powerful they may be! Police must do their job in totality and should not depend on just one eminent lawyer named Kapil Sibal to rush before CJI NV Ramana to ensure that action is taken against those whom he and his clients feels indulge in hate speech! In how many similar such cases will Kapil Sibal keep jumping and for how many years?
It is beyond a straw of doubt that police must be held strictly accountable under all circumstances if no action is taken in all such cases where hate speeches are made. Only then will the firm and final message go out among all hate mongers that they will be at the receiving end if they dare indulge in making hate speeches! Presently, the unpalatable truth is that we don’t see this happening and we instead see that hate mongers make hate speeches with impunity!
In a nutshell, it is our legal system which needs to definitely change now most comprehensively. No one should be ever spared no matter whoever he/she may be who makes hate speeches against anyone in our country! There should be zero tolerance against hate speeches. Only then can we really hope our country to progress, prosper and become powerful!
All in all, a very loud and clear message must be sent out to one and all that any ideology which premises itself on hate and separatism has absolutely no place in our nation’s pluralistic traditions! It must be reiterated that hate speech condemnation and action by police must not be ever selective as hate speech made by anyone against anybody else cannot be justified under any circumstances. Those who still dare indulge in making hate speeches against anyone must be punished most severely, most speedily and should not be allowed to get away anyhow or somehow under any circumstances! If this happens in all cases where ever and when ever hate speeches are made by anyone then only can we call ourselves a democratic and civilized country in the real sense!