Two weeks after reprehensible statements against the Prophet Muhammad and Islam by two BJP leaders, one on national television and the other on Twitter, police have filed a complaint against several people for hate speech, incitement to groups and creating situations that disturb the peace and harmony of society. Two FIRs were registered, naming BJP spokespersons, a journalist, social media users and members of various religious organizations.
Notably, the police action comes shortly after a huge diplomatic storm caused by objectionable and common remarks, now suspended, BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal, the head of the party’s media cell. in Delhi who was also expelled. While Ms Sharma’s remarks were made during a news channel debate, Mr Jindal has come under fire for a tweet.
The delay in police action has been questioned by many, as similar hate speech has often been made both on television and on social media. The timing, just after more than 16 countries criticized the two BJP leaders’ remarks, also sparked speculation. It is still unclear whether the case was registered on the basis of a complaint or whether the cyber unit of Delhi Police Special Cell learned about it suo motu. Police said they regularly monitor social media for hate speech and incitement to violence.
Several countries in the Gulf region had summoned Indian ambassadors and expressed concern over “growing extremism and hatred”. Many even demanded a “public apology” from New Delhi for the remarks deemed “Islamophobic”.
Among those named in the police or FIR case, registered by the Intelligence Fusion and Strategic Operation (IFSO) unit of the Special Cell, include Naveen Kumar Jindal, the expelled head of Delhi’s BJP media unit , Shadab Chauhan, the chief spokesman of the Peace Party. , journalist Saba Naqvi, Pooja Shakun Pandey, Hindu Mahasabha bureau member, Maulana Mufti Nadeem of Rajasthan, Abdur Rehman, Anil Kumar Meena and Gulzar Ansari, police said.
Pooja Shakun Pandey, who uses the pseudonym “Annapurna Maa”, was recently charged over her controversial call to ban Friday prayers. She was also charged with making a public call to arms and inciting mass murder.
A second FIR was also registered under similar sections against suspended BJP spokesperson Nupur Sharma and other social media users, police said.
“The FIR is against several individuals who transcend religions,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (IFSO) KPS Malhotra said.
“The unit will investigate the roles of various social media entities in promoting false and misinformation with the intent of creating unrest in cyberspace and which has ramifications on physical space, thereby undermining the social fabric of the country,” Malhotra said.