Hindu religious leader in India arrested over misogynistic speech


A Hindu leader who received a warning from authorities for the genocide of Muslims in India last month, was arrested for allegedly making misogynistic remarks against women from the minority religion.

Yati Narsinghanand has been “arrested for derogatory comments against women, not the Haridwar hate speech case right now”, a senior police official said.

“He will be remanded for the hate speech case too, the procedure is on. We will include the hate speech case details also in the remand application.”

During a religious event last month in Haridwar, Uttarakhand, several Hindu leaders had made inflammatory comments about Muslims.

Police complaints had been lodged against at least 10 other religious leaders from the event for inciting violence against the Muslim community in the country.

Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi, known as Wasim Rizvi before he converted to Hinduism, was the first one to be arrested in the hate speech case. He was detained by the Uttarakhand police on 13 January.

Mr. Narsinghanand is the head priest of the Dasna temple in Ghaziabad in the National Capital Region (NCR).

The video clips of the religious event held between 17 and 20 December, in which several leaders, including Mr. Narsinghanand, had called for violence against Muslims, had provoked massive outrage in India.

The event was live-streamed on YouTube and most of the priests could be heard saying inflammatory things against India’s Muslims.

One religious leader identified as Prabodhanand Giri said in one clip that was widely circulated on Indian social media: “You should either be ready to die or kill, there’s no other option.”

He continued: “Like Myanmar, our police, our politicians, our Army and every Hindu must pick up weapons and conduct a safayi abhiyan (reference to ethnic cleansing). There is no other option left.”

The Supreme Court had last week issued a notice to the Uttarakhand government and sought action into the hate speeches made against Muslims.

Earlier when Mr. Tyagi was arrested, Mr. Narsinghanad had threatened the police and said “all of you will die.”

Another speaker at the event, Sadhvi Annapurna who is also the general secretary of the far-right religious group Hindu Mahasabha, allegedly called for the murder of Muslims.

“Nothing is possible without weapons. If you want to eliminate their population then kill them. Be ready to kill and be ready to go to jail. Even if 100 of us are ready to kill 20 lakhs of them (Muslims), then we will be victorious, and go to jail,” she was heard saying in the video.

“Like [Nathuram] Godse (the man who killed Mahatma Gandhi), I am ready to be maligned, but I will pick up arms to defend my Hindutva from every demon who is a threat to my religion,” she said.

The religious event was also attended by Ashwini Upadhyay, a member of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and BJP Mahila Morcha leader Udita Tyagi.

Activists, lawyers, students, retired military chiefs and judges and even tennis legend Martina Navratilova had called out the hate speeches and misogyny of the leaders.

Organisers of the event have maintained that they did nothing wrong. (Source: The Independent)