‘Dharm Sansad’ was organised in the ‘Magh Mela’, an annual religious event at ‘Sangam’ (the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Sarswati rivers) at Prayagraj. Credit: PTI Photo

After the ‘Dharm Sansad’ (religious gathering) at Haridwar in Uttarakhand last year, yet another ‘Dharm Sansad’ called for making India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’ even as the seers refused to recognise Mahatma Gandhi as the Father of the Nation and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru the first prime minister of the country.

The Uttarakhand ‘Dharm Sansad’ triggered widespread condemnation after videos of alleged ”hate speeches” by some seers appeared. The UP ‘Dharm Sansad’ was organised at the ‘Magh Mela’, an annual religious event at ‘Sangam’ (the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Sarswati rivers).

Three resolutions were adopted at the meeting, which was attended, among others, by the Shankaracharya of Sumeru Peeth Swami Narendrananda Sarswati, which included declaring India a ‘Hindu Rashtra’, capital punishment for those indulging in religious conversion and immediate release of Jitendra Narain Tyagi alias Waseem Rizvi, the former chairman of Shia Waqf Board, who recently embraced Hinduism, and the Hindu seer Yati Narsimhananda, both accused in the Haridwar ‘Dharm Sansad’ hate speech case.

”In a country like India someone can be Rashtra Putra (son of the nation) but not Rashtra Pita (father of the nation),” Sarswati said in his speech.

He also said that Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose should be declared the first prime minister of the country as he (Bose) had the ”support of 15 countries”. ”Bose was already the PM of India when the country had attained freedom,” he claimed.

The seers warned of a nationwide agitation if Narsimhananda and Tyagi were not released from jail immediately.

According to the sources, the organisers had changed the name of the meeting from ‘Dharm Sansad’ to ‘Sant Sammelan’ after the district administration refused to give them permission for the same. ”Though the name was changed it was in fact a Dharm Sansad,” Swami Anand Swaropp, one of the organisers, said.

After the Supreme Court took cognisance of the Haridwar hate speech case, the police arrested Tyagi and Narsimhananda. A case was registered against Tyagi and some others under section 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence and language) following uproar over the alleged hate speeches. The state government had also formed a special investigation team to probe the matter.

This story first appeared on deccanherald.com