The Attorney General of India on Friday permitted initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against Haridwar hatemonger Yati Narsinghanand for comments about the Supreme Court.
Attorney General KK Venugopal said he had reviewed the material presented and found that “the statement… ‘Those who believe… in the Supreme Court, and in the Army, will all die the death of a dog” were “a direct attempt to lower the authority of the Supreme Court…”
This “certainly amount(s) to contempt of the Supreme Court of India” Mr Venugopal said, responding to a request from lawyer-activist Sachi Nelli seeking permission to initiate proceedings.
“I grant consent to initiate proceedings for criminal contempt…” Mr Venugopal wrote yesterday.
Yati Narsinghanand organised the event in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar last month that called for the genocide of Muslims. He was the second person to be taken into custody over vile comments made by speakers, some of whom told NDTV they had said and done nothing wrong.
As shocking as the comments were, the first arrest in the case only came a month after the event, when the Supreme Court sought details from the Uttarakhand government on action taken.
Yati Narsinghanand was subsequently arrested last week, although it later emerged that it was in connection with a different case (relating to derogatory comments about women).
It was only two days later that he was remanded in the Haridwar hate speech case too.
Since the controversy broke, the saffron-robed Narsinghanand has gone from cackling about a police officer “on our side” to cursing cops; “all of you will die,” he said after his first arrest.
Yati Narsinghanand, Jitendra Singh Narayan Tyagi (Waseem Rizvi before conversion) and a woman identified as Annapurnna were among 10+ people named in FIRs, First Information Reports, lodged over speeches that, in addition to calling for genocide, advocated the use of arms against Muslims.
Clips from the Haridwar event – held from December 17 to 20 – were circulated on social media and drew sharp criticism from former military chiefs, retired judges, activists and even international tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
Those who organised the event and gave the hate speeches maintain that they have done no wrong.
“I am not ashamed of what I have said. I am not afraid of police. I stand by my statement,” Prabodhanand Giri – sen often with BJP leaders, including UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Uttarakhand counterpart Pushkar Dhami – told NDTV on December 23.