26, Sep 2022 | CJP Team
The executive wing of government gets harshly criticised by the Indian Supreme Court for doing little to stop instances of hate speech even while major TV news stations have come under fire for regularly hosting discussions that allow for the expression of hatred
On September 21, the Supreme Court, once again, sharply criticised television news channels for airing hate speech and silencing other speakers and participants while expressing concern over the rising frequency of such remarks across the nation. The Government of India was ordered by the Supreme Court to respond to the Law Commission of India’s recommendations within two weeks. Justices K.M. Joseph and Hrishikesh Roy made up the division bench that also observed that they will look at the present law’s insufficiency to effectively address hate speech.
The bench was hearing a batch of eleven writ petitions which seek the directions to regulate hate speech. Among the batch were petitions filed against the “UPSC Jihad” show aired by Sudarshan News TV, speeches made at Dharam Sansad meetings, and pleas seeking regulation of social media messages communalising the COVID pandemic. LiveLaw reported that the Supreme Court bench first expressed its serious concern at the news channels running unregulated, even exclaiming “Where is our nation headed!”. The Court then went on to emphasise the need of having a strict regulatory framework against hate speech and questioned the Indian government as to “why it is standing as a mute witness while all this is happening?”
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The order of the Supreme Court, referring to the 2017 Law Commission of India report, quotes:
“6.31 Hate speech generally is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief and the like (sections 153A, 295A read with section 298 IPC). Thus, hate speech is any word written or spoken, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause fear or alarm, or incitement to violence.
6.32 Hate speech poses complex challenges to freedom of speech and expression. The constitutional approach to these challenges has been far from uniform as the boundaries between impermissible propagation of hatred and protected speech vary across jurisdictions. A difference of approach is discernible between the United States and other democracies. In the United States, hate speech is given wide constitutional protection; whereas under international human rights covenants and in other western democracies, such as Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom, it is regulated and subject to sanctions.
6.33 In view of the above, the Law Commission of India is of considered opinion that new provisions in IPC are required to be incorporated to address the issues elaborately dealt with in the preceding paragraphs. Keeping the necessity of amending the penal law, a draft amendment bill, namely, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 suggesting insertion of new section 153C (Prohibiting incitement to hatred) and section 505A (Causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases) annexed as part of the 2017 Law Commission Report was specifically flagged by the SC in its September 21 order.
Ironically enough, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyay is one of the petitioners asking for the Law Commission’s advice to be implemented, while there is a batch of other petitions and interventions that have flagged this crucial issue. The court was also considering a petition by former Patna high court judge, ex-justice Anjana Parekh and senior journalist Qurban Ali, filed in opposing the vitriol dished out at so-called religious gatherings (Dharm Sansads) around the nation. Other petitions are against the “UPSC Jihad” show aired by Sudarshan News TV, and pleas seeking regulation of social media messages communalising COVID pandemic were also heard as part of the hearing.
During this hearing last week, the SC clearly opined that it is the (television) anchor’s responsibility to stop hate speech from occurring during TV discussions, noting the importance of the anchor’s position during TV debates. The court pointed out that while television hosts permit certain panelists to make venomous remarks, they prevent the opposite side from airing its opposing viewpoints by muting their microphones. The panel ruled that errant news anchors should face stern punishment and be removed from the broadcast. During the hearing, as reported by LiveLaw, Justice K. M. Joseph made the following comment on some television channels: “The anchor’s function is crucial. Either on mainstream television or on social media, hate speech is a problem. Most social media platforms are uncontrolled. When it comes to mainstream television channels, where we still have power, the job of the anchor is crucial because it is the anchor’s responsibility to instantly ensure that he doesn’t let someone who is spewing hate speech to continue. Unfortunately, when someone wants to speak, at times they are silenced, given little time, or even treated rudely.”
The bench further elaborated on how press freedom grants readers and viewers of news greater rights than those who are responsible for spreading it. He further added, “Freedom of expression of the press, we don’t have it separately unlike the US….there should be free debate no doubt about it but, you should also know where to draw the line because there is a huge influence particularly with the visual media….they produce a very serious effect on your brain. The freedom is (also) for the listener. The freedom of speech is actually for the benefit of the listener. How would the listener ever make up his mind after listening to a debate where it is just a babble of voice, you cannot even make out what is happening”, reported LiveLaw.
Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay, speaking on behalf of one of the petitioners, emphasised the absence of any definition for hate speech and argued that while those accused of it are currently charged under Section 153A of the IPC (Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, or residence), they ultimately escape punishment. He also said that hate speech helped political parties. Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde argued that, “the industry is unregulated and there are no sanctions” to which Ashwini Upadhyay replied, “Until hate speech is defined this will go on.” Justice Joseph then observed, “We should have a proper legal framework unless we will have a framework people will continue and the most important question, is, if it is hate speech on which we are feeding on where is our nation headed”.
The court further stated at the hearing that politicians profit the most from hate speech, and television networks provide them with a forum for it. Sanjay Hegde, senior counsel, repeated the same ideas. “Politicians and media outlets profit from such discourse. Channels are paid. Ten persons are kept in the discussion,” he added.
Underlining, again, that curbing or regulating hate speech is critical since it affects and poisons the very fabric of the country, Justice Joseph also observed, “Political parties will come and go but the nation will endure…Without a totally independent press no country can go forward, it’s absolutely important that we have true freedom, there”. He further added, “hate speech completely poisons the very fabric…It cannot be permitted”.
Highlighting the need for a regulatory mechanism and appropriate sanctions to be put in place, Justice Joseph gave the example of a news outlet that was substantially fined in the UK and opined, “That (option) is not available here. They’re not being dealt with firmly (news networks). If such a discipline is applied, they may be punished and removed off the air.” He further added, “If sanctions are effected this will go… Any anchor will have his own views, but what is wrong is when you have people of different views and you are not allowing them to express those views… in doing that you are bringing hate and your TRP is going up.” The bench further observed that freedom of the press is important and ours is not as free as the US but we should know where to draw a line.
The bench acknowledged that it was unable to replace the legislative branch’s authority and enact legislation in this area. The Vishakha verdict, which gave fundamental definitions of sexual harassment at work and suggestions for how to deal with it, was cited by the bench as its source of guidance.
Lastly, the court ordered the Indian government (Union of India) to state, on affidavit, whether it plans to adopt a legislation that forbids inciting hate speech in accordance with the Law Commission’s recommendations. In its order, the Supreme Court stated “The Union of India will clearly indicate its stand with regard to the recommendations made by the Law Commission of India namely whether it has contemplated any legislation in terms of the recommendation.” The government should not take an adversarial stand on this but assist the court, Justice Joseph further said. As referred to earlier in this piece, the Law Commission, had in 2017 specifically recommended amending criminal law and annexed to its report, a draft amendment bill, namely, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017 suggesting insertion of new section 153C (Prohibiting incitement to hatred) and section 505A (Causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases). It was these legislative amendments that were specifically flagged by the SC in its September 21 order.
Meanwhile, only 14 of the 29 Indian states have responded to the serious issues raised in these petitions. The SC has also directed a compilation of these responses. “….With the available inputs provided by the 14 States, Union of India is ordered to put in its response within a period of two weeks from today.” The States were permitted to submit separate answers by the Court. Sanjay Hegde, a senior advocate, was also tasked by the Court with compiling the States’ reply.
The order of the SC states, “In the nature of the cases, we find it necessary to request Shri Sanjay Hegde, learned Senior Advocate, together with Mr. Anas Tanwar and Mr. Mrigank Prabhakar, learned Advocates-on-Record, to assist the Court by collating all the petitions and addressing the Court. The States which are respondents in these cases may give their independent suggestions in the matter and it will be channelized through Mr. Sanjay Hegde, learned Senior Advocate.” The bench set the matter for hearing on November 23.
The Order of the SC may be read here:
Developing Indian jurisprudence on hate speech
In these clutch of matters, previously, on July 20, 2022, Supreme Court had asked the secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, to compile information regarding preventive, corrective and remedial measures taken by state governments, so far, in compliance with its earlier judgment. The Centre is yet to place before the court the compilation and has now been directed to do so, in the form of a booklet, within a period of six weeks.
Referring to compliance with the slew of directions passed by the Court in Kodungallur Film Society v. UoI, Tehseen Poonawalla v. UoI and Shakti Vahini v. UoI, an earlier bench comprising Justices AM Khanwilkar, AS Oka and JB Pardiwala had stated, “We request the Secretary, Home Department, GoI to collate necessary information from the respective State/UTs in respect of matters referred to in the common chart to be made over by the counsels for the petitioner in one week. The information essentially would be in respect of matter in nature of compliance with directions and observation in the afore-stated decisions to provide for preventive, corrective and remedial measures from arresting untoward situations that occur and are referred to in the petitions.“
The Supreme Court had issued following directions in the above mentioned cases:
- Kodungallur Film Society vs. UoI [WP (Civil) no. 330 of 2018]: Directions were issued to control vandalism by protesting mobs;
- Tehseen Poonawalla vs. UOI [WP (C) 754 of 2016]: Comprehensive guidelines were issued to the Union and State Governments regarding prevention of mob violence and lynching; especially flagged for the police was Section 129 of the CrPC which empowers an officer to disperse a mob, which in his opinion, has a tendency to cause violence or carry out brute lynching in the disguise of vigilantism or otherwise. Besides, the Director General of Police of every state were directed to issue a circular to the Superintendents of Police (SPs) –of every district–with regard to police patrolling in the sensitive areas keeping in view the incidents of the past and the intelligence obtained by the office of the Director General.
- Shakti Vahini vs. UOI [WP (Civil) no. 231 of 2010]: Directions were issued to prevent, curb and remedy honour killing.
For clarifying the theoretical marker between free expression and the (crimes of) hate/inciteful speech, it was the judgements in Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan vs Union of India and Ors AIR 2014 SC 1591 and Amish Devgan v/s Union of India, 2021, 1 SCCi that some headway was made and jurisprudence laid down.
In Pravsai Bhalai, the top court that had held,
“Hate speech is an effort to marginalise individuals based on their membership in a group. Using expression that exposes the group to hatred, hate speech seeks to de-legitimise group members in the eyes of the majority, reducing their social standing and acceptance within society. Hate speech, therefore, rises beyond causing distress to individual group members. It can have a societal impact. Hate speech lays the groundwork for later, broad attacks on vulnerable that can range from discrimination, to ostracism, segregation, deportation, violence and, in the most extreme cases, to genocide. Hate speech also impacts a protected group’s ability to respond to the substantive ideas under debate, thereby placing a serious barrier to their full participation in our democracy.”
Seven years after laying these precepts down in Pravsai Bhal, the SCI took developed jurisprudence further in Amish Devgan v/s Union of India, 2021, 1 SCC. In Amish Devgan (supra), the top court noted that hate speech focuses on the substance of the message which is to cause humiliation and alienation of the targeted group. Detailing the rationale behind criminalising such speech, the SCI explained, is (the need) to “protect the dignity and to ensure political and social equality between different identities and groups regardless of caste, creed, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, linguistic preference etc. Freedom to express and speak is the most important condition for political democracy.” In this context of criminalising speech, the court explained that dignity, “refers to a person’s basic entitlement as a member of a society in good standing, his status as a social equal and as bearer of human rights and constitutional entitlements. It gives assurance of participatory equality in interpersonal relationships between the citizens, and between the State and the citizens, and thereby fosters self-worth.”
This SCI verdict, Amish Devgan, also states, “refers to a person’s basic entitlement as a member of a society in good standing, his status as a social equal and as bearer of human rights and constitutional entitlements. It gives assurance of participatory equality in interpersonal relationships between the citizens, and between the State and the citizens, and thereby fosters self-worth.” Hate Speech from a Member of a dominant group against a discriminated section, for instance, hate from a ‘a person of influence’ such as a top government or executive functionary, opposition leader, political or social leader of following, or a credible anchor on a T.V. show carries a far more credibility and impact than a statement made by a common person on the street” and needs to be prosecuted
2017 Law Commission’s recommendations:
On March 23, 2017, the Law Commission of India forwarded to the Union Government its Report No. 267, titled “Hate Speech,” for review. The Law Commission of India was tasked by the Indian Supreme Court to investigate matters pertaining to hate speech, including its definition, in the Pravasi Bhalai Sangathan vs. Union of India case. The court also ordered the committee to submit its suggestions for strengthening the Election Commission to stop the threat of hate speech to the Parliament. The report sent by Chairperson of the Law Commission Justice BS Chauhan had been addressed to then minister for law and justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad. Five years down, the directives of the SCI in Pravasi Bhalai remain unimplemented. No action on either the directives of the Supreme Court or the recommendations of the Law Commission have been so far taken by the government.
The Law Commission of India, carrying out its task directed by the Supreme Court, had then studied the law and it’s sections that govern hate speech in the country. While Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution outlines some legitimate limitations on the right to free speech and expression, tested jurisprudence has also laid down numerous tests that determine if this limitation is appropriate. The freedom of expression and the right to equality are intended to be balanced by laws that aim to curtail discourse that further marginalises and targets the most weak sections of society.
Any form of communication that has the potential to incite hatred and violence need to be restricted in order to safeguard the most vulnerable groups from discriminating attitude(s) and behaviour. The Commission advocated that the adverse impact of speech on the rights of the vulnerable group be considered while enforcing anti-discrimination laws. The Law Commission also recommended that a number of criteria be taken into account before prohibiting speech, including the speech’s context, the victim’s position, the speaker’s standing, and the speech’s propensity to lead to unfair or disruptive conditions.
The report also addresses Jeremy Waldron’s theories, such as the “dignity principle,” and presents a case for speech regulation as a means of defending minority populations’ interests. Two additional sections within the Indian penal law (criminal law) have been suggested in this respect. These are:
(i) Prohibiting incitement to hatred-
“153 C. Whoever on grounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability or tribe –
(a) uses gravely threatening words either spoken or written, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause, fear or alarm; or
(b) advocates hatred by words either spoken or written, signs, visible representations, that causes incitement to violence shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, and fine up to Rs 5000, or with both.”.
(ii) Causing fear, alarm, or provocation of violence in certain cases.
“505 A. Whoever in public intentionally on grounds of religion, race, caste or community, sex, gender, sexual orientation, place of birth, residence, language, disability or tribe- uses words, or displays any writing, sign, or other visible representation which is gravely threatening, or derogatory;
(i) within the hearing or sight of a person, causing fear or alarm, or;
(ii) with the intent to provoke the use of unlawful violence,
against that person or another, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year and/or fine up to Rs 5000, or both”.
The panel also suggested that the government use other tactics, such as teaching and sensitizing the populace about using speech responsibly, to promote peace among the various social groupings. Additionally, among other things, the report recommends including “sexual orientation” and “tribe” as grounds for discrimination.
The entire report of the Law Commission of India may be read here.
CJP’s Decades long campaign in combating Hate Speech:
Since its inception, CJP has battled against attempts to propagate hatred of varied kinds. The organisation, since the early 1990s has been central to formulating a nationwide debate on hate speech and writing. Over the past decade, CJP has put in serious and sustained efforts to first spot and monitoring hate-filled writing or speech –often disseminated in its multi-media form –analysing where it breaches the law and actually incites violence, complain to statutory regulatory bodies like the National Broadcasting & Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA), National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and state police authorities to take action and prosecute news and other networks who air hateful content. Crucial to this exercise is an active network of citizens who are committed to both free expression and stand against violations that are incitements to violence.
In response to cases of targeted violence against minorities, inflammatory remarks made by prominent personalities against women and minorities, as well as provocative speeches, CJP has petitioned many authorities. The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have both been contacted, and regular complaints lodged against news stations with the News Broadcasting and Digital Standards Authority (NBDSA).
Action against venomous news channels, 2022.
- News18’s video of show about bombs hurled at WB school
CJP had filed this complaint on February 21, 2022 with News18 for their unverified and misleading live debate programme titled ‘Toh hijab ke liye bam barsaenge?/ Danke ki chot par’ (Transaltion: Asking openly- So will bombs be hurled for hijab?) that aired on February 15, 2022. The show stigmatised and demeaned the Muslim community on national television by broadcasting unverified news. NBDSA directed that its video be pulled down from all platforms within seven days, that is by August 2, 2022. In response to the CJP complaint, the NBDSA further decided to issue a warning to the broadcaster not to hold such debates without verifying the facts.
- 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.
- 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. On June 14, 2022, the NBDSA held that the show violated the authority’s guidelines for fair and temperate reportage and directed that its videos be pulled down from all platforms
- Zee Hindustan’s show on Vaccine Jihad
In June, 2021 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, 2021 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. On June 14, 2022, the NBDSA has ordered Zee Hindustan to remove the Video of its offensive video on “Vaccine Jihad”.\
9.Times Now’s virtual media trial of Teesta Setalvad
On July 28, 2022, CJP filed a complaint with NBDSA against Times Now for the three debate shows aired on their channel on June 25, 27 and 28, 2022 discussing the arrest of Teesta Setalvad. After there was no response by Times Now, CJP moved the NBDSA and re-iterated that claims made by the channel insinuating that Teesta Setalvad had been proven guilty, or there is sufficient evidence against her to prove her guilty, clearly amounted to a media trial which is not permissible in law. As per the complaint, when the debate shows in question are viewed in entirety, it can be seen how the sensationalist taglines and tickers flashed during the broadcasts, create a certain perception amongst the public and must therefore be used carefully especially in controversial matters
- Times Now’s shows defaming Teesta Setalvad
Earlier, 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.”
Other Initiatives by CJP
- Yati Narsinghnand and his hate bandwagon
Throughout the year 2021, 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, 2021 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 same year, the NCM has written to Meerut’s Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) requesting a detailed report within 15 days, in response to a CJP complaint.
In November 2021, 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.
In addition to filing petitions, CJP has systematically documented and also prepared various guides with the aim of combatting the spread of hate speech. For example:
- Hate Watch: Mapping Hate Crimes in India in 2021
Through this, an interactive infographic was prepared by CJP to record all the atrocities committed in the name of misplaced beliefs. Within the map, cities where such hate crimes took place are marked with an “X”. The darker the colour of the “X” the more the number of crimes. Therefore, cities with black icons mean these are the places with hate crimes are the most widespread. Meanwhile, the religious symbols (of Islam and Christianity) showcase against which community the crime took place, with crimes also colour-coded as per category.
- How to spot and stop Hate in the Newsroom
Through this guide, CJP provided a glance at the role journalists can play in checking the spread of hate in the newsroom, so that it never makes it to our airwaves or print. This comprehensive resource taught journalists and common people to understand the difference between journalism done right and journalism done with an agenda of spreading communal hatred.
- Hate Hatao: CJP’s New App to Fight Hate
CJP launched the Hate Hatao app, a revolutionary new app designed to fight hate that can be used by anyone with an Android smartphone. Hate Hatao app will enables anyone to report to us instances of hate speech, threats, and hate crimes, with the appropriate evidence, such as a screenshot, video or a picture. CJP will then take this up as a complaint to authorities such as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Press Council of India (PCI), the National Broadcasters Association (NBA), Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms or law enforcement agencies. CJP will also lodge FIRs and pursue the cases in court. The person reporting will then receive real-time updates on the status of the report. Incidents can be related to hate targeted against people from a particular religious community, caste, economic class, ethnicity, gender or sexuality. CJP then also monitor incidents of hate and track their escalation to chart and understand how hate builds.