Controversial UP priest Yati Narsinghanand has been sent to 14 days of judicial custody. He was arrested on Jan. 15 in two separate cases, one on hate speeches against Muslims in India.
Senior police officer Swatantra Kumar said Yati Narsinghanand Giri, an outspoken supporter of far-right nationalists who also heads a Hindu monastery, was initially arrested on allegations that he made derogatory remarks against women.
Kumar said the monk Giri, whom he described as a repeat offender, was formally charged on Monday with promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion.” The charge can carry a jail term of five years.
Yati Narsinghanand and several other Hindutva supremacists had called for violence against Muslims at a religious conclave held in Haridwar, a northern holy town in Uttarakhand, between December 17 and December 19. He had called upon Hindus to pick up weapons, asserting that the “economic boycott” of Muslims will not work.
Uttarakhand state is ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modis Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party. The political party’s rise to power in 2014, and landslide re-election in 2019, has led to a spike in attacks against Muslims and other minorities. Muslims comprise nearly 14pc of India’s 1.4 billion people.
Last week, students and faculty at the Indian Institute of Management, one of India’s most prestigious business schools, submitted a letter to Modi in which they wrote his silence emboldens hate and threatens the country’s unity and integrity. BJP has faced fierce criticism over rising attacks against Muslims in recent years.