Citizens’ attempts to prevent hate speech event ignored, Hate Event allowed by Ratnagiri Police

At the event, Hate speech was given, calls for establishment of Hindu Rashtra were made, bogey issues of Love-Jihad, conversions and Halal boycott brought in to incite audience

HJSImage: Facebook

On February 20, Citizens for Justice and Peace, in their persistent and documented attempts to prevent events propagating hate speech, had sent a preemptive memorandum to authorities of Ratnagiri regarding an event proposed to be organized by the Hindu Janajagruti Samiti (HJS). In this memorandum, CJP had brought to the notice of District Collector, Ratnagiri as well as Superintendent of Police (SP), Ratnagiri that a Hindu Rashtra Jagruti Sabha event was going to be held in Dapoli, Ratnagiri on February 21 wherein hate speeches will be delivered, and calls for establishing a Hindu nation will be made, presumable by targeting and hurting religious sentiments of minorities. The previous track record of the organisations and speakers were also detailed.

Despite the pre-emptive notice to the police, as well as to MP Shri Vinayak Bhaurao Raut, Shiv Sena, the event took place and hate speeches were given. The event was broadcasted live on Facebook on the same day.

The speech delivered on February 21 at Dapoli, Ratnagiri

The speech was one hour long, and the same repeated calls for establishing Hindu Rashtra, previously also uttered, were also made. The main speaker was Manoj Khadaye, Coordinator of HJS. In his speech, he brought in the favourite bogey topics of the extremist Hindu outfits, such as Love-Jihad, Halal Certificate, Forced Religious conversions, to target the religious minorities of the country.

A few of the instigating and derogatory statements made by the speaker are:

“Until Love Jihad law is not introduced, our struggle will continue. When Shraddha Walker was murdered, many morchas were held but that is not enough. When our women are in distress, we do not do candle march. When Sita was kidnapped, Hanuman burnt Lanka, that is our tradition” (Timestamp- 09.02)

In Dapoli as well … have fallen prey to love jihad” (Timestamp- 11.16)

We do not speak against Muslim(s) but who are the ones doing love jihad? Who are killing cows? We have to take their name” (Timestamp-11.20)

“We are being told we are secular and we are all brothers. We know that, our religion teaches us that. Brother have same mother and our mother is the cow and the day they treat cows as their mother, they will be our brothers” (Timestamp- 12.10)

Around 30,000 cows are being slaughtered every month.”

“These Christian missionaries are roaming around with Bibles in villages and trying to converting people. They lie to people and try to convert them that you will be cured of diseases. Hence we should oppose religious conversion.” (Timestamp-12.41)

“Through Waqf board so much has been annexed. In 2013 when Manmohan Singh was prime Minister he made some changes and gave them many rights to take over our homes, our shops, our temple lands. You can read sections 3, 52 and 53 of the Waqf Board Act over the internet. So they can take over any land in the name of Waqf Board.” (Timestamp- 15.01)

[Statements from the speech have been translated from Marathi]

As is apparent from the content of the speech made here and again, half-truths and inciteful statements are being made against Muslims and Christians. As is well established in human rights jurisprudence such repeated speeches delivered from persons and organisations who enjoy social and political clout create stigmatization of the targeted section and make them vulnerable to not just socio-economic discrimination, but violence.

This speech was then followed up by a self-defense act. A part of this act showed the Hindus using their knowledge of defense when they are attacked by a person, who is evidently portrayed as a Muslim.

The video can be viewed here: 

The follow-up of the complaint with the authorities- A conundrum

With the aim of following up with the police and questioning them regarding the inaction of the police, the CJP team today contacted the Ratnagiri District Collector’s office as well as the office of the Superintendent of Police of the district.

Speaking with the District Collector, M Devendra Singh, it became clear that they were not even aware of any such pre-emptive complaint that had been sent. The Collector denied any responsibility by saying that the CJP team should contact the SP office as the matters of law and order are dealt with by them. While he said that he was aware about the HJS event taking place in Dapoli, he denied having any information on whether the event had taken place after having attained any approval from the police or not. He did not answer any further questions, though several were put to him, and only provided the team with another number of the Superintendent of Police.

When the CJP Team contacted the office of the Superintendent, Dhananjay Kulkarni, they did not entertain any question and gave the team yet another number, which belonged to a department that deals with the complaints that are sent online. When the team contacted that department, it again became evident that the email containing the preemptive memo had not even been opened before we made our call. When the team enquired as to why this email was not sent to the concerned authorities, the speaker on call from the department was heard talking to a colleague and asking “what should I say to them”, to which the colleague had say “say whatever you want it does not matter.”

The said department had then given CJP Team members another number, which belonged to a constable. The said number was not reachable for one hour. Post this, the CJP team again contacted the SP office, which led to our call being transferred to the SP. After speaking to the SP and informing them about the contents of our pre-emptive memo, he said that he will take half an hour to collect the necessary information and call us back in half an hour. After waiting for forty minutes, when the team contacted the SP office again, the call kept getting transferred to different departments and the SP did not receive the inquiries, again.

After half an hour of waiting and asking the department to connect us to the SP, the CJP team was given the number of another constable.

Even after spending almost 1.5 hours on the call with different officers of the police, the CJP team was unable to get any reply. Even after sending a pre-emptive memo and giving out the exact details of the location and date of scheduled hate-speech event, the police took no action. What was even more saddening is that the preventive memo had not even been opened. Even after having an entire department dedicated to dealing with complaints sent online, the memo did not reach the concerned authorities. Clearly the online contact emails and numbers are merely a public white-wash not meant for easy contact with the citizenry.

This brings us to the question: how are concerned citizens supposed to stop hate speech events from happening? From red-tapeism and the bureaucratic lag, to inaction or selective action of the police, the path to approaching and curbing hate speeches looks rather bleak. No answers are given by them. Even after reporting that hate speeches have taken place, the police does not take suo-moto cognizance. How do we approach this issue?

Hate speeches are taking place rampantly throughout the country, the state. The Hindu Janajagruti Samiti themselves have 12 more events planned in Maharashtra and Karnataka in the span of the next two weeks. If the police is refusing to take preventive action or file any charges against the perpetrators, it will only embolden such hate speakers.

In this complete indifference and refusal to respond evident from the Maharashtra authorities, clearly constitutional governance and participatory democracy do not really exist.


Previous HJS Speakers in Maharashtra

Firstly, in 2022, Kallicharan ‘Maharaj” was hosted by the controversial HJS in Maharashtra, after which Suresh Chavhanke, chief of RSS’ Sudarshan TV came in followed by Pramod Muthalik of the Sri Ram Sene and Shambhaji Bhide with an infamous hate mongering record in Pune and Satara previously and T Raja Singh, elected MLA of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Telangana.


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