Towards a Hate Free Nation: CJP releases Handbook, approaches SEC to issue advisory to district authorities before Ram Navami The Handbook has been sent to police officials and the SEC of Maharashtra

15, Apr 2024 | CJP Team

Ensure a communal violence and hate free and fair election 2024, CJP approaches the Maharashtra State Election Commission (SEC)! 

Urging that the SEC issue an advisory to all district and police authorities to prevent hate speeches and violence –before during and Ram Navami celebrations on April 17 until the conclusions of the elections on June 1.

CJP has also released a ready to use Handbook, Towards a Hate Free Nation and the Handbook succinctly provides latest jurisprudence from the Supreme Court of India (SC) and Bombay High Court (HC) CJP that re-emphasise the role and responsibility to both prevent and prosecute targeted violence. 

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!

Citizens for Justice and Peace has released an 18-page booklet, Towards a Hate Free Nation and approached the State Election Commission to issue an advisory to all district for Police & Administration authorities to ensure a free and fair election unmarred by hate speech and targeted violence. Apprehensions of communal flare-ups around the upcoming Ram Navami festival on April 17 have been expressed in the communication.

A detailed letter to the SEC and to all Superintendents (SPs) of Police and District Collectors on the subject, along with a copy of the Handbook have been despatched. These have been sent by both email and registered post. Besides each police station and Collectorate will be contacted on the issue this week. 

CJP has specifically urged authorities to ensure no untoward incidents happen during Ram Navami celebrations on April 17 and upcoming elections from April 19 until June 1

Why the Handbook, Towards a Hate Free Nation? Handbook for Police & Administration?

Over the past eight years of experience in actively monitoring hate speech and hate crimes, CJP has found that there has been inaction on the part of authorities in implementing statutory guidelines, existing law and even disregarding Supreme Court judgements on the issue from 2014 onwards. Often the district police is not even aware of the latest developments in the constitutional courts. That the Director General of Police (DGP) has also issued two circulars in 2023 to its own police urging strict implementation of the law, these are also often disregarded by local police.

Therefore the Handbook.

Based on this ground level experience, Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) has released this comprehensive booklet on preventive and other measures that must be adopted by police and district administration in cases of such provocative events where inciting hate speeches are likely to be delivered. 

In addition to explaining what constitutes Hate Speech, the Handbook, “Towards a Hate Free Nation- Handbook for Police & Administration”, has compiled references from recent Supreme Court and High Court Judgements to highlight the need for prompt and effective, pre-emptive measures around such mobilisations where hate speech is likely to be delivered. The judicial pronouncements mentioned in the booklet also lay down such judgments of the Constitutional Court that provide for video-taping of rallies/meetings having the potential of delivery of hate speeches as well as prompt registration of offences (FIRs) and fair investigations and actions.

CJP believes that countering hate is a collective responsibility of both the concerned citizenry and the authorities. Hence the Handbook to bridge the gap of miscommunication that exists on latest jurisprudence on this crucial issue. An election free of hate and communal polarisation is a pre-requisite to their being a level playing field and the conduct of elections being free and fair.

There have been serious concerns of communal flare-ups this week, before Ram Navami and before the first phase of voting in the state of Maharashtra set to begin on April 19, 2024 and ending in Phase 5 on May 20. CJP also expressed its concern about the festival of Ram Navami and ground level developments, including rumours that suggest possible events where hate speeches are uttered and communal violence breaks out. Notably, the festival of Ram Navami will be celebrated on April 17, just two days prior to the voting. 

In view of this, CJP has also sent its handbook to the State Election Commission of Maharashtra highlighting such occasions where anti-social elements have through the diversion of religious processions provoked violence and urging the authority to issue an advisory to the Maharashtra Police to ensure full preventive and pre-emptive measures are taken to prevent the outbreak of such incidents, in and around Ram Navami and thereafter.

In its letter to the SEC, CJP stated “voting for Lok Sabha Elections of 2024 is due to begin in the state, with the Phase I voting taking place on April 19 and ending in Phase 5 on May 20. It is therefore crucial that the state police take prompt action against any and every attempt to vitiate social harmony of Maharashtra. Hate Speech has the tendency not to just create disharmony and the potential to incite violence but is also a violation of the Representation of People’s Act, 1951 and the Model Code of Conduct that prohibits the misuse of religion and religious identities to gain political power.”

The letter sent to the SEC states:


Furthermore, CJP has also sent alerts to the Superintendents of Police and District Collector of twelve districts of Maharashtra to ensure that no untoward incident takes place in their district on Ram Navami as well as during polls. It is essential to note that the first twelve districts prioritised are those that have seen communal incidents flare up in past months and those that go to the polls on April 19. Along with the alerts, the same handbook has been sent to the authorities by email and post to provide them with an easy reference guide. 

The twelve districts that have seen an increasing number of violent incidents against religious minorities in the past include:

  1. Jalgaon
  2. Mumbai City
  3. Mumbai Suburban
  4. Nashik
  5. Thane
  6. Kolhapur
  7. Solapur
  8. Ahmednagar
  9. Latur
  10. Osmanabad
  11. Nagpur
  12. Aurangabad

Besides, Ramtek, Bhandara-Gondiya, Chandrapur, Gadchiroli-Chimur, the said handbook has been despatched to remaining districts of Maharashtra as well. 

What’s in the Handbook- “Towards a Hate Free Nation”

This easy-to-read Handbook has evolved out of the ground level experience in monitoring Hate Speech and preventing Hate Crimes by CJP over the past four decades our work has involved active involvement in citizenship-police efforts to prevent the escalation of communal violence and conflict, to quell rumours, to monitor and report hate speech before the impact of one or all of these escalates into targeted violence.

One can simply define hate speech as any speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, or any other characteristic. It can be subtle or overt, and can have a profound impact on the targets of the speech. Statements which are of provocative and inciteful nature incites violence and undermines social cohesion and tolerance.

Since the year 2014, and as recent as 2024, the Supreme Court has delivered significant judgements and shorter orders specifically to counter hate speech. Often these go unimplemented at the district level. Two circulars issued by the Director General of Police (DGP) in 2023 are also ignored. This is CJP’s efforts to bridge this gap and ensure implementation,

The full handbook can be accessed here:



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