New Delhi: A group of Supreme Court lawyers have written an open letter to Uttarakhand governor Lieutenant General Gurmit Singh about the government’s inaction on repeated instances of hate speech in the state.
The letter, dated Tuesday, May 30, says that the state government is prima facie in contempt of the Supreme Court by refusing to take action on the hate speech cases, despite orders from the Supreme Court to do so.
“We write to express our deep concern at recent events in the state of Uttarakhand, a state with a long history of peace and social harmony. The frequency of these events indicates there is a campaign underway to spread fear and hatred in the state,” the letter begins by saying.
It goes on to list four examples of hate speech incidents that took place within a span of 12 days, adding that they were all perpetrated by Hindu nationalist organisations against Muslims.
The first incident involves a Rudra Sena leader who made speeches and videos threatening the Van Gujjars, a predominantly Muslim community, to leave an area lest they be subject to violence.
The second incident also involves the Rudra Sena, which made speeches in a different area advocating for the economic boycott of minorities and the elimination of all ‘jihadis’ from the world.
Times of India reported that this event was allowed on the condition that it did not commit acts of hate speech, noting that the Muslim month of Ramzan was ongoing then.
The next two incidents involve the Bajrang Dal disrupting schools that had chosen to perform Eid-related plays.
Police did not take action in any of the above cases.
“As per the [Supreme] Court’s October 21, 2022 order in Shaheen Abdullah vs. Union of India … the states of Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi were specifically directed to “ensure that immediately as and when any speech or any action takes place which attracts offences such as Sections 153A, 153B and 295A and 505 of the IPC etc., suo moto action will be taken to register cases even if no complaint is forthcoming,” the letter points out.
The full letter and the list of signatories are reproduced below.