The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Thursday wrote to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanding an assurance that the government will act against anybody who violates the Indian Constitution and the country’s penal code. The NCM, in its letter, cited speeches made by BJP MPs Yogi Adityanath and Sakshi Maharaj on ‘love jihad’ and BJP MLA Usha Thakur’s comment asking for a ban on Muslim men attending garba events.
The letter comes a week after legal luminary and constitutional expert Fali Nariman, while delivering the NCM annual lecture, criticised the Central government and the NCM for not standing up to hate speech incidents.
In the letter, the commission listed three incidents: “Comments by Sakshi Maharaj associating terrorism with madrasa and with Muslims, derogatory comments on Muslims with regard to garba celebrations by Usha Thakur and unfounded and extremely offensive comments about Muslims by Yogi Adityanath regarding ‘love jihad’ and riots being engineered by Muslims.”
In an interview to The Indian Express, Indore MLA Thakur had said that if Muslim men want to participate in garba, they should convert to Hinduism as they use the festival as a pretext to mingle with Hindu girls. Unnao MP Maharaj had said that madrasas impart education of terror and ‘love jihad’, while Gorakhpur MP Adityanath had made a series of provocative speeches on ‘love jihad’ in the run-up to the Uttar Pradesh Assembly byelections.
“In view of the above, we would like your assurance that the government will take appropriate action against any act or speech that violates the provisions of IPC and the spirit of the Indian Constitution. The government must demonstrate its unwillingness to tolerate any speech or action that is likely to aggravate communal tensions in any part of the country,” NCM chairman Naseem Ahmed wrote to Singh.
In his speech, Nariman had said, “I would respectfully suggest that if we minorities (through the statutory body set up by Parliament ) do not stand up for the rights of minorities and protest against such hate speeches and diatribes how do we expect the government to do so?”
“We have written to the ministry emphasising the need to crack down on statements made by Adityanath, Maharaj and Thakur,” Ahmed told The Indian Express.