EC moves against hate speech

By Neeraj Nanda


New Delhi, 23 April: The Election Commission has barred BJP Bihar leader  Giriraj Singh and an FIR has been filed against VHP leader Pravin Togadia for ‘inciting communal passions’ during a speech in Bhavnagar. This has put Narendra Modi in a damage control mode. He has said he ‘disapproves’ such irresponsible statements. But he failed to name Giriraj and Togadia.

Togadia has been charged under the EC notification under sections 153(A), 153(B) and 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Togadia has denied saying about forcible occupation of a house bought by a Muslim in a Hindu dominated area of Bhavnagar. Meanwhile, Giriraj has refused to withdraw his statement that Modi critics should be sent to Pakistan.

CPI leader Amarjeet Kaur, who is campaigning for her party candidates in Begusarai and Banka (Bihar) told SAT, “ It is unfortunate the election is being turned into a communal and divisive discourse for short term benefits of voter polarisation”.

“This would go in the long run in the damaging mode to the already vitiated environment in India,” she said.

Giriraj Singh has been slapped with a show cause notice to reply by April 24, failing with the EC will take a decision in this regard.

In its notice the EC has quoted Sub Para (1) of the Moral Code of Conduct which says no party or candidate shall do activity that creates mutual hatred and aggravate existing differences or create tension between different communities.

Many political leaders have been censured by the EC for their alleged hate speeches during the 2014 election campaign. The BJP’s Amit Shah was briefly banned by the EC for his campaign speech in the riot affected state of Uttar Pradesh, that, Shah had said that the general election, especially in western UP, “is one of honour, it is an opportunity to take revenge and to teach a lesson to people who have committed injustice”. He has apologized for his comments.

Azam Khan, a leader from the Samajwadi Party, was banned from public rallies by the EC after he insinuated in a campaign speech that the 1999 Kargil War with Pakistan had been won by India on account of Muslim soldiers in the Army.

The EC called both these speeches, “highly provocative (speeches) which have the impact of aggravating existing differences or create mutual hatred between different communities.”

The 2014 elections are almost in their final phase but the real challenge will emerge after May 16 when the much awaited results will come.

- SAT News Service.

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