THREE WEEKS after registering an FIR in connection with hate speeches targeting Muslims made at the Haridwar ‘Dharam Sansad’, Uttarakhand Police on Thursday made the first arrest in the case.
Waseem Rizvi, who recently converted to Hinduism and changed his name to Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, was arrested from Narsan border following a tip-off from an informant, the police said.
The arrest came a day after Supreme Court issued notices to the Centre, Delhi Police and Uttarakhand government on a PIL seeking a probe into hate speeches by participants at two separate events – one in Haridwar which was organised by Yati Narsinghanand and the other in Delhi which was organised by Hindu Yuva Vahini – in December.
The plea stated that no effective step had been taken by the police authorities although two FIRs had been registered against people who took part in the Haridwar Dharam Sansad.
Tyagi and Yati Narsinghanand were among five people named in the first FIR, which was registered on December 23 at Haridwar Kotwali police station on the complaint of one Gulbahar Khan. Other speakers named in the FIR were Dharamdas Maharaj, Annapurna Maa and Sagar Sindhuraj Maharaj. The FIR was registered under IPC Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups and acts prejudicial to harmony) and 295 A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings).
Another FIR was registered on January 2, invoking similar IPC provisions, on the complaint of a social worker, Nadeem Ali, against Tyagi and some unidentified people for making hate speeches at the Haridwar event and continuing to do so in the days that followed.
Haridwar police in a statement on Thursday said Tyagi was arrested in connection with the second FIR.
“An FIR was registered against Tyagi and others on the complaint of Nadeem Ali for objectionable comments on social media against the Muslim community. After finding enough evidences of Sections 153 A, 295 A and 298 IPC against Tyagi during investigation, he was arrested on Thursday. He is being presented before a court,” the statement said.
Yati Narsinghanand, who was accompanying Tyagi when the arrest was made, sat on indefinite hunger strike at Sarvanand Ghat in Haridwar. He claimed that although he offered to be arrested along with Tyagi, the police let him go.
Naringhanand and Tyagi were on the way to Haridwar from Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad when the arrest was made.
“They have arrested Jitendra Narayan Tyagi. This is injustice and I have sat on protest at Sarvanand Ghat in Haridwar against this injustice, and will not eat food or drink water until he is released,” he told The Indian Express.
“I was with Tyagi when he was arrested, but the police did not take me. He was arrested because he was once a Muslim who converted to Hinduism. This is so that no other Muslim converts to Hinduism,” said Narsinghanand, claiming that he offered to be arrested as he too is an accused.
“We will also take legal ways to get Tyagi out of jail. If the step was taken due to Supreme Court, we will take care of that too. If needed, we will protest in front of Supreme Court too,” he said.
Sources close to Narsinghanand claimed that some of the others named in the FIRs were also present with them.
Earlier this month, accusing the Uttarakhand government of working under pressure and of being scared of “jihadis”, the organisers of the Haridwar Dharam Sansad announced a protest meet on January 16 against the FIRs and formation of a Special Investigation Team in probe into the matter.