On May 19, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP), deeply concerned with the communal ideology being spread by Suresh Chavhanke through his hate speeches sent a complaint to the Superintendent of Police, Ahmednagar to register a complaint against him. Chavhanke’s latest hate stint was in Shrirampur, Maharashtra, where he delivered an anti-Muslim hate speech at a Hindu Hunkar Dharam Sabha event organised by the Rashtriya Sri Ram Sangh (SRS).
In the current event, Chavhanke had used the birth anniversary of Sambhaji Maharaj, a Maratha king, to spread communal hatred by making misinformed, provocative and offensive claims against the minority community, its history and their culture. In the said complaint, it was highlighted that Suresh Chavhanke was the key participant in the said event and he had espoused a hard, right-wing, exclusionist ideology.
In his speech, Chavhanke had said, “A few Muslims got upset with me, a Muslim minister told me a few days ago that they are upset with me. When I asked him the reason behind it, he said that he was upset with me because I used the word l***a (anti-Muslim slur). Tell me, he got upset over the fact that I called Aurangzeb a l***a. If I don’t call Aurangzeb a l***a, then whom should I call a l***a? This word is there today as it is in use, otherwise there are so many words that have gone extinct by now. Till the time this community considers Aurangzeb as their father, this word will be used by us no matter what anyone does.”
It was also highlighted in the complaint that taking action against Chavhanke over this speech is essential because not only targeted the Muslim community, but has also boasted about the fact that even though he has a large number of FIRs filed against him, no one has the audacity to take any “real” action against him. He has hinted that he enjoys political protection of the highest in the state and union governments. This brazen show of defiance and impunity by Chavhanke promotes a culture of violence and fearlessness in our state which is governed by laws.
“Even though FIRs have been filed, no one has had the audacity to file a charge sheet against me. The authorities of Shrirampur can also file an FIR against me, I don’t care, but let them know that I have come here after 6-7 years, and if they file an FIR, I will come here every day. You know, the chief minister of every state tells the authorities to file an FIR against me because they are under pressure, but they also tell them to not take it further as if a trial if started, I will come to that place every month and give more hate speeches. So, even the ministers think that it is better that I come once in every few years. So do not be scared,” Chavhanke had said.
Through the said complaint, action against the outfit and organisers should also be taken as this the second big event organised by the said outfit in Shrirampur this year, the first one being the March 10 hate event, wherein Telangana BJP MLA and Hindutva leader T. Raja Singh had been invited, who had delivered a hate speech targeting the Muslim community. SRS has been specifically active in the Shrirampur area. In the said complaint, CJP had also underlined that the Ahmednagar district police had previously booked T. Raja Singh under sections 295, 504 and 506 of the IPC. Seeking a more stringent action against Chavhanke, CJP had emphasised that the speaker have used the expression of extreme hate with a clear communal objective to establish religious hegemony upon a community that is already a minority in numbers in the country, is deplorable and against the constitutional values that we uphold as citizens of this country. Additionally, such speech and hate content has the direct potential to cause physical and mentally bodily harm to marginalized groups, their women and render their already insecure life further eroded of dignity and equality.
The recent judgments of the Supreme Court, where especially the string of recent Hate Speeches in the state of Maharashtra were specifically discussed, were relied upon by the complainant to urge for the registration of the FIR. In addition to this, the circulars of the Maharashtra government issued since February 2023 were also highlighted, wherein the DGP Maharashtra had urged the police stations to follow the Supreme Court orders on hate speech as well as detailed instructions on what steps are to be taken when any morchas are to be held.
In the complaint to the Shrirampur police, CJP had sought swift and stringent action against Suresh Chavhanke, the outfits SRS, and the organisers of the event under certain sections of the IPC in view to the overall unsafe atmosphere for the Muslim community that is being generated through the systemic and the perpetrated use of hate speech and writing within the country. Even though a transcript of the speech given by the speaker was provided with the complaint, CJP had urged the police to view their video-recording of the event, which the Maharashtra police has been taking, to determine if any other derogatory statement has also been made by him. The said complaint has been sent via email and registered post.
The entire complaint can be read here: