28, Dec 2021 | CJP Team
The year 2021 saw CJP step up its campaign against hate and bigotry. We approached several authorities against incidents of targeted violence against minorities, incendiary statements made by public figures against women and minorities as well as inflammatory speeches.
CJP’s complaints have invoked action from the National Commission of Minorities (NCM) as well as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and in case of complaints filed against news channels last year, the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA) even took action in two cases and gave its stern opinion in one case.
As the year approaches its end, it is time to look back at all the times CJP rose to the occasion and moved concerned authorities so that perpetrators of such incidents are made to follow due process of law and inquiry.
CJP is dedicated to finding and bringing to light instances of Hate Speech, so that the bigots propagating these venomous ideas can be unmasked and brought to justice. To learn more about our campaign against hate speech, please become a member. To support our initiatives, please donate now!
Anti-minority violence in Tripura
After news of incidents of vandalism were reported from Hindu temples in Bangladesh, Tripura saw outbreaks of retaliatory violence where Muslims were targeted. Over 15 mosques were reportedly vandalised and shops only owned by Muslims were ransacked by goons. Districts of Unakoti, North Tripura, West Tripura, Sepahijala and Gomati were severely affected as per local media reports.
CJP gathered some allegations made through local newspapers and urged the NCM on October 29, to take cognisance of the same to check the veracity of these allegations and take steps accordingly. In a quick response, NCM sought an expedited action taken report (ATR) from the Chief Secretary of Tripura, in its letter dated November 18.
Yati Narsinghnand and his hate bandwagon
Throughout the year CJP has filed several complaints against the Dasna temple priest, Yati Narsinghanand and his “disciples” who follow his design of hateful diatribe. While the authorities seem reluctant in taking action against Yati himself, his disciples have not been spared.
In July, CJP complained to NCM highlighting the series of Islamophobic speeches of Vikas Sehrawat, a follower of Yati. This connection was drawn as Yati was seen praising Sehrawat saying, “Islam ka jihad khatam ho, uske liye hum yojna banaenge, uske liye aise aise yuva khade hue hai, aur malik Sehrawat jo jail mein bhaut jaldi jail se bahar aaega, ek do dinn mein bachche ki zamaanat hojaegi, aur nayi urja ke saath woh apne kaam pe lagega”. (Translation: We will make policies to end Islam Jihad (militancy), and such youth [pointing to some men standing beside him] are standing tall to do this work. Malik Sehrawat who is in jail will be released soon, he will get bail in 1-2 days and with new energy he will work towards eradicating Jihad).
One day after he was released from jail on bail for uploading an incendiary video against politician Alka Lamba and calling for violence against Muslims in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, Sehrawat uploaded a video on his Facebook page on April 11 where he verbally abused Aam Aadmi Party leader Amanatullah Khan and NDTV’s renowned journalist Ravish Kumar. He added that he will charge five lakh rupees to kill Khan and make him disappear from the face of the Earth. At the end of the said video, he also issued rape threats to women, commented on their body, verbally abused them, made sexual gestures and also asked the Indian Muslims to go to Pakistan.
In September, the NCM has written to Meerut’s Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) requesting a detailed report within 15 days.
In November, another complaint was filed with NCM against two other followers of Yati namely, Suresh Rajput and Rahul Sharma who during a live session on Facebook made a series of vile and hateful statements about the women who held the internationally documented anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protest at Shaheen Bagh. In the video which was later shared across social media, the duo also supported the communal violence that ensued in Tripura in wake of the attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh.
Another of his followers, Shringi Yadav voluntarily kicked and hurt a minor Muslim boy for entering the Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. CJP complained to the NCM in March, describing the horrific incident. Yati even accepted that he has trained his followers to give ‘befitting replies’ to any temple trespassers.
CJP approached NCM in August against Yati himself, bringing to light a public address made by him in which he said that all workers like plumbers, electricians, delivery boys, vegetable vendors are Muslims who enter Hindu homes, befriend Hindu women who then fall prey to the ‘Jihadis’. Yati also made deplorable statements like most prostitutes are Hindu women, and they are the ones who fall in love with ‘Jihadi Musalman’ and get blackmailed by their objectionable pictures. He also repeatedly called out “napunsakta” (impotency) or “heejrapan” (equivalent to derogatory word eunuch) as a weakness in Hindu men, thus instigating them to resort to unspeakable actions that could fuel crimes against women, irrespective of their community.
In another complaint against Yati, CJP wrote to Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITy) and the Ministry of Minority Affairs (MMA) in March. The complaint stated that through his speeches that circulate online, he continues to appeal to all Hindus to protect their Dharam (religion), daughters and women, claiming there is a Muslim jihadi everywhere, who is killing Hindus in every region of the world. He has also said that his followers have asked him about the low frequency of riots in India and the reason provided by him is that Hindus no longer have the courage to raise their voices against the alleged unjust society they are living in.
Action against RSS leader
In December 2020, CJP had approached the NCM against the hate speech delivered by Kamalendu Sarkar at a Public function in Sonitpur which endorsed unverified and false allegations against the Prophet Mohammad alleging that he was a rapist and that this is what the Quran says, insinuating that Muslim women are ill-treated. The All-Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU) had to pro-actively intervene to prevent communal clashes in Tezpur after the video went viral.
Action was taken in this regard in March, 2021 by the NCM when it wrote to Guwahati’s Director General of Police (DGP), requesting for a detailed report within three weeks on the matter.
NHRC’s final warning
In July 2020, CJP along with the All India Union of Forest Working People (AIUFWP) had approached the NHRC that the Tharu Adivasis of Kajaria Village in Dudhwa Tiger reserve, Lakhimpur Kheri, UP were assaulted by forest officials and local police who even fired shots in the air, allegedly molested women and beat up some youngsters. The NHRC had sought an Action Taken Report (ATR) from UP’s Forest Department however, but shockingly did not receive any response!
Taking note of this, the NHRC issued conditional summons in October 2021. The Commission noted that even after a lapse of a year, no report or any response was received from the Forest Department and hence, it has deemed it necessary to take coercive steps against the department directing personal appearance of the Secretary of the Forest Department before the Commission on November 29, in case the reports are not received by the Commission on or before November 22. In case NHRC receives the requisite reports by November 22, the appearance of the Secretary will be dispensed with.
Attacks against minorities
CJP clubbed various incidents of targeted acts against the Muslim community in Madhya Pradesh and sent a complaint to the NCM in October. The complaint highlights the repeated attacks on Muslims in Madhya Pradesh that have been taking place since August 2021 including a Muslim family that was attacked in Indore’s Kampel locality, after the family refused to leave the village dominated by the Hindu community. Another case was that of Tasleem Ali, a bangle seller who was beaten up by a mob of right-wing Hindu groups on August 22 in Indore. The complaint also brings to light how some posters were put up in Ratlam prohibiting the entry of “non-Hindus” outside Garba venues as a result of which one Muslim college student was assaulted at a Garba event.
Attacks on churches
CJP brought to the attention of NCM the multiples instances of attacks on churches, allegedly by right-wing outfits in Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh. In Roorkee, Uttarakhand, a right-wing mob allegedly vandalised the church where worshipers were attending Sunday’s congregational prayers and many of them were seriously injured. In Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh, where Pastor Durgesh Bharti was leading a prayer meeting some fanatics arrived and allegedly started to mistreat and threaten them.
In Karnal, Haryana, a Christian woman and about 25-30 other faithful were attacked by members of an extremist group during a Sunday liturgy. Many such incidents were highlighted in the complaint, that awaits action from NCM.
In another incident, goons who claimed to be activists of Bajrang Dal as well as Hindu Yuva Vahini reportedly disturbed a prayer meeting and also harassed two nuns by taking them to the police station on allegations of religious conversion. These incidents were also brought to the notice of NCM in a separate complaint filed on October 13.
The communal violence in Chhattisgarh
On October 8, CJP wrote to Director General of Police (DGP) of Chhattisgarh in connection with the October 5 incident of communal violence in Kawardha town in Kabirdham district where a mob of nearly 3,000 miscreants, carrying saffron flags, allegedly attacked houses and vehicles of people, and also pelted stones. A copy of the complaint has been forwarded to the Chief Minister of the state, Bhupesh Baghel as well. The complaint has referred to two videos that were circulated on social media, showing unknown groups of men, chanting “Jai Shri Ram” (long live Lord Ram), and pelting stones at shops, houses and police personnel.
Tejasvi Surya’s communal claims
In May, Bhartiya Janata Party’s Bengaluru (South) Member of Parliament Tejasvi Surya and three fellow MLAs attempted to lend a communal spin to the alleged ‘bed-blocking scam’ in Bangalore by making communal remarks and accusing only Muslim staff of the scam. This video of the inspection of the Covid War Room went viral and invited sharp criticism against Surya and accompanying MLAs Uday Garudachar, Satish Reddy and Ravi Subramanya. CJP approached NCM and highlighted how Surya suggested that 16 Muslim volunteers of the BBMP’s south zone unit may be responsible for the lack of beds in the city. He was also heard asking if “they (Muslim volunteers) were recruited for a corporation or a madrasa?”
Violence in Ujjain, MP
On January 18, 2021, CJP approached the NHRC to take suo motu cognisance of the illegal demolition of a Muslim daily wager’s house in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh by the Municipal Corporation staff and also demanded an impartial police investigation in the matter. A rally (reportedly) by Bajrang Dal and other right-wing organisations like the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), was organised to raise funds for the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya which came under attack when it passed through the Muslim-dominated area of Begum Bagh in Ujjain which then resulted in stone pelting. Following this clash, the local administration demolished one house of Abdul Rafeeq and damaged another when came looking for suspects in the stone-pelting incident caught on video the previous day. The District Collector allegedly confirmed the reason behind the demolition was to hurt the stone pelters economically. The Commission, on October 1 informed CJP that our complaint has been forwarded to the Magistrate, Ujjain for further action.
Condemning vile news channels
Zee News’s show on Zameen Jihad
CJP had filed a complaint with the NBDSA against Zee News and its Zameen Jihad show in June 2020. In March 2020, Zee News aired a programme hosted by Mr. Sudhir Chaudhary called “DNA: Jammu मेंज़मीन के ‘इस्लामीकरण’ का DNA टेस्ट” (DNA test of Islamic conversion of land in Jammu). In the program, the host, Mr. Sudhir Chaudhary, showed his viewers a Jihad diagram propagating various types of Jihad in the country categorising them as soft jihad and hard jihad. He then went to explain, “Hard Jihad includes Population Jihad, Love Jihad, Land Jihad, Education Jihad, Victim Jihad and Direct Jihad, while Soft Jihad includes Economic Jihad, History Jihad, Media Jihad, Movies and Songs Jihad and Secular Jihad.”
The hearings in this matter took place in 2021 and the channel dodged action by the NBDSA citing technicality that CJP’s complaint was filed a few days after the stipulated time period. The Authority had however taken a prima facie view that the content of the show violated Fundamental Principles of Code of Ethics as well as Guidelines of Broadcast of Potentially Defamatory Content and also Specific Guideline Covering Reportage related to Racial and Religious Harmony.
News Nation’s show on Conversion jihad
On November 6, 2020 News Nation telecasted a show on the theme of “Conversion Jihad” which told the story of one Memchand from Mewat, who was allegedly forcibly converted to Islam and threatened by the Tablighi Jamaat. In its complaint to the NBSA dated December 1, 2020, CJP mentioned how Mr. Chaurasia called one Maulana Syed ul Qadri and forced him to tender an apology on behalf of the entire Muslim Community! He also insulted him on air and called him a Jhoot ki Factory (factory of lies)! The complaint to NBSA further cited instances of how the host encouraged hate speech against Muslims by calling anti-minority propagandists.
On November 18, after hearings, the NBDSA ordered News Nation to take down all videos of its show. NBDSA concluded that the channel had only “made generalised submissions” and “failed to submit any specific reply to the grievances of the complainant.” There appeared to be a lack of due diligence by the channel and it had displayed disregard for the Code of Ethics and Guidelines.
Times Now’s shows defaming Teesta Setalvad
In February 2020, Times Now had made false and frivolous statements about CJP secretary Teesta Setalvad and misrepresented statements made by regarding Census and even labelled her a Modi Baiter and said that she was ‘tutoring’ protestors at Shaheen Bagh protest site. In its order dated November 15, 2021, NBDSA, concluded that “the programme referred to in the complaint was devoid of objectivity.” It elaborated, “In order to maintain objectivity, an anchor can conduct a debate, however, if he/she must reach a conclusion, it has to be only at the end of the programme, based on discussions held amongst the panelists.” It added, “The anchor must avoid pushing any agenda during the debate.”
Zee News and Population Politics
On July 23, CJP wrote to NBDSA against a debate show aired by Zee news on June 27 called ‘Taal Thok Ke’, which used the offensive slogan “Kudrat ek bahana hai, Muslim abaadi badhana hai?” (Translation: Nature is just an excuse, the motive is to increase Muslim Population?). The show emphasised on the statement made by Samajwadi Party MP Shafiqur Rahman who said that children are “Nizaam-e-Kudrat” (part of the system of nature) and that nobody has a right to interfere with that. CJP stated in its complaint that the show is less of a debate and more a shrill exercise in heightening hyperbole and volume, insinuating that there is only one particular minority community behind India’s backwardness and illiteracy.
Zee Hindustan’s show on Vaccine Jihad
In June, Zee Hindustan aired a show about a so-called big revelation that involved “Vaccine jihad” in the country where they stated that a Muslim auxiliary nurse midwife wasted vaccine syringes by not administering it to the beneficiaries, insinuating that this is part of a bigger conspiracy against the country. A fact checking website had debunked the video relied upon in the show and stated that the video was originally from Ecuador where it was tweeted by an Ecuadorian national on April 25 which was also confirmed by the Ministry of Health of Ecuador in a press release. The complaint mentions that using terms like “vaccine jihad” and flashing it on the screen throughout the show in big fonts, shows the malafide intentions of the channel and the host and exposes the propaganda of spreading hatred and vilifying the Muslim community at large.
CCTVs in Assam Police stations
On December 3, CJP, along with organisations such as Forum for Social Harmony, Asom Majuri Sramik Union, All India Kishan Mazdoor Sabha and some local lawyers wrote to Director General of Police (DGP) of Assam highlighting the Supreme Court’s December 2020 judgement mandating installation of CCTVs in police stations. In December 2020, Supreme Court mandated installation of CCTVs in police stations, giving specific directions on storage of the information thus collected. It also specified locations in police station where such CCTVs should be installed.
This memorandum was filed in the light of Assam Human Rights Commission taking suo moto cognisance of 23 people shot at while in police custody.