Legal Legislature Nation

Take action against hate speech makers irrespective of party, religious affiliation: JIH

New Delhi: Latching onto the Supreme Court’s recent remarks on hate speech, a Delhi-based socio-religious organisation on Saturday alleged that it seemed the “silence of governments” on the issue was “emboldening” people indulging in such acts.

Addressing a press conference here, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) Vice-President Salim Engineer urged governments to take action against such people irrespective of the party or religion they might belong to.

He also said many people were using “hatred or agenda of hatred, seeking political future or fast political growth” even as he appealed to the Election Commission of India to take “serious cognisance” of the matter.

“The Supreme Court has emphasised that governments should act as per laws against hate speeches being made. The apex court can only lay emphasis or point towards it but we feel the attitudes of governments towards hate speeches and those who make them is very disappointing,” Engineer told reporters without specifying which governments he was referring to.

People in Delhi, the national capital, those elected to Parliament, who are people’s representatives, are “openly” indulging in such acts in public, “spreading hatred and creating a divide in society on religious lines”, he said without naming anyone.

Senior BJP leader and West Delhi MP Parvesh Verma had recently courted controversy after he allegedly called for a “total boycott” of a community at an event held to protest against the killing of a Hindu youth in northeast Delhi. He had not named the community.

A number of leaders, including BJP lawmakers and many religious leaders, have been accused of making hate speeches.

An anguished Supreme Court in late October had observed that “where have we reached in the name of religion, what have we reduced religion to is tragic,” and asked three states, including Uttar Pradesh, to crack down hard on those making hate speeches, calling them shocking for a country that is religion-neutral.

Holding that the Constitution of India envisages a secular nation, the court had directed Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to promptly register criminal cases against the offenders without waiting for a complaint to be filed.

Engineer alleged that “many cases have been seen lately, but the actions of governments have been disappointing”.

“Rather, it feels, the silence of the governments is emboldening such people. They are getting emboldened,” he said.

“Those who are doing such acts are hoping to get a political advantage. And their hopes are not misplaced. Political growth of such people who have indulged in hate speeches have been swift,” the JIH vice-president claimed.

“We urge the Election Commission (of India) to take serious cognizance of this matter. And governments, whose job is to maintain law and order, to take actions against such people irrespective of the party or religion they may belong to,” Engineer said.