On May 18, Citizens for Justice and Peace had sent a complaint to the Commissioner of Police (CP), Amravati to register a complaint against Bharatanand Swami for delivering an anti-Muslim hate speech during an event organized by the notorious Sakal Hindu Samaj in Amravati, Maharashtra. The video for the said event had been accessed by us on May 15, 2023. In the said complaint, action against the organisers of the said event has also been urged. Additionally, CJP has also highlighted to the police that in the video that many other hate offenders and repeated hate speakers could be seen sitting beside Saraswati on the stage, all of whom need to be identified and booked alongside.
At the said event, the speaker made an incendiary and inciteful speech, including making derogatory statements, through which they had specifically targeted Muslim citizens and the community. Saraswati even went to the extent of accusing the Muslim community for the recent incident of riots in Akola, when eight individuals were injured while one died, without having the full information on the ongoing investigation. Following the patterns of their extremist peers, giving fire to the myths around “cow slaughter” and “growing population of Muslims” agenda, the speaker even implied that the Muslim community was responsible for the spread of COVID, something which had been used as an instrument to spread Islamophobia in the past too.
Delivering the said speech, Bharatanand Saraswati stated that even though he had been advised by people to not give a hate speech, he would, since he is not afraid of jail. Instigating his audience, in his speech, he had implied that he is being targeted by the police and authorities “because he is a Hindu” “I have been told to not give hate speech, complaints are being lodged, and they might put you in jail. To this, I say that our Lord Krishna were born in a jail only. Jail does not matter to us, not at all. I have myself been to jail once. This is all happening because conspiracies are taking place against Hindu saints, Hindu organisations and Hindu ministers.”
In the said complaint, CJP had highlighted that the communal and hate spewing speech delivered by the speaker, who had also delivered another hate speech on April 30 in Mumbra, Thane, promoted a hard, right-wing, exclusionist ideology, through which he has targeted the Muslim Community.
Through the complaint, CJP has further emphasised that the speakers have used the expression of extreme hate with a clear communal objective to stigmatise a community that is already economically and socially vulnerable. This is against the law and the Constitution. Additionally, such speech and hate content has the direct potential to cause physical and mentally bodily harm to marginalised 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 the complaint to the Amravati police, CJP specifically sought swift and stringent action against Bharatanand Saraswati, the unidentified speakers and the organisers of the event was urged 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. The said complaint has been sent via email and registered post.
The entire complaint can be read here: