Kalicharan Maharaj, who had previously made heinous statements against Mahatma Gandhi while praising Nathuram Godse, has now been booked for delivering a hate speech in the Pune district of Baramati on February 9. The alleged hate speech was directed at Muslims and was given during a Hindu Jangarjana Morcha rally. It is essential to note that Shankar Gikar had also been invited to the said rally.
According to the Indian Express, the case was filed against Kalicharan based on a complaint filed by a constable of the Baramati City police station on April 25. Vikas Mahadev Devkate, the rally’s organiser, has been booked alongside Kalicharan. They were booked under Indian Penal Code sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.) and 505 (2) (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill-will between classes).
An officer from the Pune Rural police told the Indian Express that “Prior to the rally, a notice was issued to the organisers asking them to refrain from making any inflammatory speeches during the rally. On the afternoon of February 9, during the rally, Kalicharan Maharaj delivered a speech that included misinformation about Muslims, potentially promoting enmity between religious communities”.
The Indian Express further reported that as per inspector Sunil Mahadik, in charge of the station, the police had issued a notice to the accused and that the investigation was underway.
The speech made by Kalicharan at the event
At the event, Kalicharan had said that Muslims want to convert everyone to Islam because those who are not Muslims are kaafirs and it is written in the Quran that you should kill a kaafir. “I am kaafir which means I am eligible to be killed (by them),” he said. He further said, “Wives of kaafirs are stolen property and one woman being raped by 50 men is not a big deal.” He again repeated the same speech that he had made in Nandurbar about women raped in Kashmir and told his audience to watch the movie “Kashmir Files”.
He claimed that what is shown in the movie is not even 1% of what happened in Kashmir. “Until Muslims are few in number, there is bhaichara (brotherhood). Once they increase in numbers they will kill these brothers. This is what happened in Kashmir. They want to establish Gazwa-e-hind and they have succeeded halfway because they made Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan into Muslim countries and killed all the Hindus there. At the time of independence, Dalit leader Jogendranath Mandal was told by Dr BR Ambedkar that just because you hate Savarnas do not trust Muslims and go to Pakistan. But he did not listen and went to Pakistan where he was made the Law Minister and in the next 5-6 years all Hindus were killed”.
Even after guidelines, no preventive action taken by the police
On February 3, 2023, the Supreme Court had issued directions with respect to an event which was scheduled to be held in Mumbai on February 5 by Sakal Hindu Samaj. The court had taken an undertaking from the government of Maharashtra that if permission for this event is granted “it will be subject to the condition that nobody will make any hate speech and in defiance of law or disturbing the public order.” The court also gave directions that it shall be the duty of the police officers to invoke section 151 of CrPC for preventive action in case the need for the same arises.
It is also essential to highlight here that on February 7, two days prior to the proposed event, the Citizens for Justice Peace (CJP) had sent a pre-emptive memo to the Baramati police, raising certain concerns about the proposed event being organized by Sakal Hindu Samaj on February 9 in Baramati, Maharashtra. It is important to note that Sakal Hindu Samaj is the same organisation that has been giving a platform to hate speech offenders to make hate speech by organising events demanding central laws against ‘love jihad’, religious conversion and cow slaughter, and thus, there were clear indications that hate speech will be made at the event. In the said memorandum, CJP had also provided the previous instances where Kalicharan had delivered hate speeches. Accordingly, CJP has urged Maharashtra Police, especially Baramati Police, to take preventive measures to stop this event from taking place and take any other action deemed necessary in this regard. A memo had also been sent to Baramati MP, Supriya Sule to urge the police to take strict action in this regard. Yet, hate speeches were unabashedly made at this event, in broad daylight, perpetrating hatred and lies to a large audience.
Thus, despite the directions by the apex court with respect to the same organization, and the pre-emptive memorandum sent by CJP, the Maharashtra Police had acted in contempt and allowed hate speech at this Baramati event on February 9 and took no action either preventive or after the event against the organizers and the speakers.