In light of the recent attacks on Hindus during Ram Navami processions, the Hindu Front for Justice Trust has moved an application in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the concerned State governments to determine loss incurred by affected persons who suffered injuries or lost their valuable possessions during the violent incidents.
Hindu Front for Justice’s counsel Advocate Vishnu Shankar Jain moved the application in an ongoing petition concerning hate speech. The application concerns the large-scale violence which took place in Howrah and Uttar Dinajpur (West Bengal), Sasaram and Nalanda (Bihar), Hyderabad (Telangana), Aurangabad (Maharashtra), Vadodara (Gujarat) and Jamshedpur (Jharkhand) during the Ram Navami processions.
The applicant said, “The Muslim mob attacked, committed arsons, damaged the vehicles, pelted stones, assaulted Hindu devotees taking out the religious processions i.e. Shobha Yatra of Lord Ram,” and cited various hate crimes committed on Marc 30, Ram Navami.
Furthermore, the applicant mentioned Trinamool Congress (TMC) Chairperson and West Bengal Chief Minister’s speech warning the Hindu community in West Bengal and said, “West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had warned the members of Hindu community for taking out any procession from Muslim denominated areas as some area of the State has been earmarked only for Muslims and nobody can enter there.”
The applicant submitted that it is constitutionally permissible for Hindus to take out religious processions through public roads while maintaining the law and order, irrespective of which community resides in the area. It claimed that Mamata Banerjee’s warning shows her partisan attitude favouring the Muslim community.
Therefore, the Hindu Front for Justice sought to direct the concerned State governments to recover the loss caused to the persons committed in connection with the Ram Navami festival from miscreants after due verification, the plea said.
The applicant submitted that members of the Muslim community committed hate crimes by pelting stones against the processions and hired hoodlums to attack innocent devotees out of sheer hatred towards Hindus. Therefore, the applicant has sought directions to the State governments to take preventive measures to prevent future incidents of violence or disturbing Shobha Yatra on Ram Navami or other festivals do not take place.
Furthermore, the applicant sought directions for allowing Hindu devotees to take out religious processions in a peaceful manner from public roads and the requests are not rejected solely because the area in question is a Muslim-dominated area. The applicant submitted that the concerned State governments have failed to maintain a law and order situation and protect people’s right to worship and celebrate religious functions in a peaceful manner.
The applicant sought directions to the State governments to provide complete protection to the processions taken out on Ram Navami or other religious processions by Hindus. Furthermore, the applicant sought directions to the Chief Secretaries of concerned State governments to submit a report regarding the causes which led to the mob violence and attack committed on the Shobha Yatra on March 30, Ram Navami.
The applicant sought that the concerned State governments register FIRs for the violent incidents which occurred on March 30 and initiate criminal proceedings against the perpetrators. The applicant also sought directions to State governments to comply with the guidelines issued in the case of Tehseen Poonawalla vs Union of India to prevent hate crimes.
Suvendu Adhikari’s PIL Demanding NIA/CBI Probe in Bengal Violence
Earlier, West Bengal Assembly’s Leader of Opposition and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA Suvendu Adhikari filed a PIL before the Calcutta High Court seeking a probe from the National Investigation Agency (NIA) or Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the incidents of violence occurred during the Ram Navami procession.
Furthermore, the PIL seeks the deployment of Central Armed Forces in the violence-affected West Bengal’s Howrah and Uttar Dinajpur districts to prevent an untoward incident.
On April 3, the Calcutta High Court directed the Trinamool Congress-led West Bengal Government to deploy adequate police personnel in affected areas where incidents of violence took place during the Ram Navami procession to preserve peace. The Court said that “State shall ensure that the public in the area shall not in any manner affected by any incident of violence or arson and law and order shall be kept under control. The safety of the school-going children and the businessmen should be sufficiently safeguarded.”
The PIL submits that, in continuation of the prevailing trend in West Bengal, the Ram Navami celebrations were marred by violence this year as well. The PIL submitted that anti-social elements perpetrated violence against the peaceful participants of Ram Navami processions in the Howrah and Uttar Dinajpur districts.
The PIL submitted that on March 30, the Shobha Yatra for Ram Navami processions were attacked by anti-social elements while proceeding from Howrah Kazipara to Howrah Maidan. Furthermore, the PIL alleged that the processions were attacked in a premeditated manner even though the organisers had due police permission to conduct the Shobha Yatra.
The PIL submitted, “Although, attack by the Anti-social elements on Ram Navami processions is a regular affair every year, however, the attack this year had crossed all limits of brutality. Severe stone pelting started from the roofs upon the participants of the Shobha Yatra in presence of the police and there is no doubt that it was a preplanned organized attack upon the rally by the local Anti-social elements of the area.”
Furthermore, the PIL alleged that the West Bengal Police remained a mute spectator while the violence was perpetrated against the Shobha Yatra participants. It added that the anti-social elements pelted stones, and threw petrol and alcohol bombs at the participants.
The PIL alleged that the West Bengal Government has failed to protect its citizens, claiming that the attack on Shobha Yatra participants was state-sponsored and there has been a complete deterioration of the law and order situation in West Bengal. Therefore, Suvendu Adhikari prays for an impartial investigation from the NIA and the CBI to investigate the larger conspiracy and find out the masterminds behind the attacks.
[with inputs from ANI]