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Notice Issued by SC on Plea Seeking to Invoke UAPA Against Anti-Muslim Hate Crimes

3 min read

Savvy Thakur

Published on: October 21, 2022 at 21:07 IST

The petition for urgent intervention to stop the “growing menace of targeting and terrorizing the Muslim Community in India” was given notice by the Supreme Court on Thursday.

The petitioner requested that the Union of India and the State Governments begin an independent, credible, and impartial investigation into the incidents of hate speech and hate crimes.

The petition has been tagged with a number of matters pertaining to hate speech pending before the bench headed by Justice KM Joseph.

The petitioner also asked for instructions on how to take legal action against speakers and organizations that commit hate crimes under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and other relevant laws.

Senior Counsel Kapil Sibal testified on behalf of the petitioner before a bench that included Justices CT Ravikumar and Ajay Rastogi.

Sibal made the argument that “something needs to be done in the issue, and some action needs to be taken against the people responsible.”

However, the bench made the observation that the petition’s prayers were “vague.” It also stated that individual cases in which FIRs have been filed may be taken into consideration.

Sibal responded, “The prayers are not ambiguous.”

“The incidents have been mentioned,” he stated. The senior lawyer went on to say that several petitions to stop such crimes have been filed with the court over the past six months, but they are still going on.

Shaheen Abdullah, the petitioner, claims that the Muslim community is being targeted and terrorized by members of the ruling political party’s open participation in the delivery of hate speeches.

“The spread of hate towards Muslims and other minorities gets accelerated and becomes all the more far reaching in its impact as a result of the support, directly or indirectly extended to radical miscreants, who engage in acts of hate crimes, physical violence, and communally charged speeches, by the ruling Political party,” was one of the claims made in the petition.

The petitioner also talked about how the media spreads hate crimes, saying that news and media platforms run programs that openly demonize Muslims.

The petition provided examples of news channels that had featured such programs. The petitioner also cited speeches in public that explicitly called for Muslim genocide or for an economic and social boycott of Muslims.

“No action appears to be forthcoming against the speakers or the parties that organize such events where genocidal and hateful speeches are delivered,” the petitioners continued.

The petition went on to say that “most of the time, the only thing the authorities do is register FIRs, even for minor offenses, which appears to be more of a formality than any genuine initiation of the criminal machinery.”

“Despite the fact that this Hon’ble Court has been cognizant of the genocidal speeches and hate crimes against Muslims made at several events and several orders have been passed by this Court directing the concerned authorities to take appropriate action..”

“….the circumstances of the country only seem to be getting worse with the growing radicalization of the Hindu community and the propagation of widespread hate against Muslims that also culminates in the physical abuse of Muslims by radical elements,” the petition went on to say.