The Delhi Police has registered a First Information Report against Sudarshan News television editor Suresh Chavhanke for his alleged hate speeches at a meeting organised by a right-wing extremist group in Delhi during December 2021.
As the Delhi Police informed the Supreme Court during a hearing on Saturday that they have registered an FIR for the offences of Section 153A (promoting enmity between different groups based on religion and acting prejudicially to maintenance of harmony), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 298 (uttering words with deliberate intent to hurt religious feelings) and 34 (committed by several persons with common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. The FIR has been registered at the Okhla Industrial Area Police Station on Wednesday.
Organised by the Hindu Yuva Vahini, a right-wing extremist group, the ‘Dharam Sansad’ event held on December 19 last year, Chavhanke had urged the crowd to take an oath and called for a “Hindu Rashtra” (Hindu nation). “Hindu rashtra ke liye ladenge, marenge, aur zarurat padi toh maarenge (we all pledge to make this country a Hindu nation. We will fight for it, die for it, and if needed, also kill for it),” he said.
Following the incident, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by journalist Qurban Ali and senior advocate Anjana Prakash, who is also a former judge of the Patna High Court, seeking criminal action against the alleged hate speeches at the Delhi meeting as well as a similar meet at Haridwar the same month.
In an earlier affidavit submitted by the Delhi Police in the Supreme Court, they had said that the speeches do not qualify as hate speech against any community. They had further mentioned that even after an “in-depth” investigation of video and other materials, they found that there was no use of any such words which could be interpreted as “open calls of genocide of Muslims.”
“In-depth investigation of the video and other material found that no hate speech was given against any community. Therefore, after investigation and evaluation of the purported video clip, it was concluded that the alleged speech contained no hate speech against a particular community,” the Delhi Police had stated.
Following this, the Supreme Court had reportedly expressed dissatisfaction at the affidavit filed by the Delhi Police and had granted two weeks of time to file a “better affidavit” by Wednesday.
The Delhi Police, then, informed the Supreme Court that after “minute verification”, they had registered an FIR against the editor.