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Islamophobia in India: Muslim Body Moves Supreme Court, Seeks Action Against Hate Crimes

India Tomorrow

NEW DELHI—Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind (JUH) and its president Syed Mahmood Madani have moved the Supreme Court, seeking a direction to initiate action against those who have repeatedly made derogatory remarks against Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and attacking the very foundation of Islam. JUH is a socio-religious organization of Indian Muslims.

The petition filed through Adv M R Shamshad has said that attacking the personality of Prophet Mohammad “is akin to “attacking the very foundation of Islam.”

Some Hindu religious leaders like Yati Narsinghanand have repeatedly made highly obnoxious remarks against Prophet Mohammad. In addition, several Hindu religious leaders gave a call for genocide against Muslims at a “Dharm Sansad” at Haridwar.

The petition also said that speeches made by certain persons were not compatible with the freedom of thought, expression, conscience, and religion allowed under the Constitution.

“Hence, appropriate action must be taken against them,” the petition demanded.

Stating that “insulting Prophet Mohammad is akin to attacking the very foundation of Islam,” the petition pointed out that “such speeches go beyond the limits of a permitted critical denial of another’s beliefs, and are certainly likely to incite religious intolerance.”

The petition said that “the State and Central government authorities ought to consider the same to be incompatible with respect for the freedom of thought, conscience, and religion and must take proportionate restrictive measures.”

The petition says that such speeches “destroy the secular fabric of our nation which also forms the part of the basic structure of our Constitution.”

The petition pointed out that the state machinery, bound by the Constitution, must take appropriate “remedial and preventive steps” to curb it. 

However, the petitioner lamented that even after a considerable lapse of time, the authorities have failed to uphold their Constitutional duties in this regard.

It pointed out that hate speeches against Prophet Mohammad and the Muslim community have also threatened the diversity and peaceful co-existence of followers of different religious beliefs.

The petition has drawn attention to many violent acts because of continuous hate speeches against the Muslim community. As a result, many people lost their lives, most of them from the Muslim community.

The petitioner requested that the Central government submit an action taken report by different state governments about hate speeches, mainly targeting the personality of Prophet Mohammad, in the light of mandatory direction in the case of Tehseen Poonawala vs. Union of India.

The petition has also referred to the decision in the Lalitkumari case which that it was the mandatory duty of the police to register FIR in a cognizable offence. The reference to this case was made because the police in some hate speech cases, including the Haridwar incident, filed FIR against unknown persons though the identity of the persons making hate speeches was available through their videos doing the rounds on social media.

It urged for setting up an independent committee to compile all the complaints relating to hate crime in the country and for court-monitored investigation and prosecution of the culprits involved in hate crimes.

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