The participants of a “dharma sansad” or religious assembly in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar where they made open calls for genocide and use of weapons against Muslims are seen in a video laughing with a police officer, who they said will be “on our side”.
Five of the event participants yesterday went to Haridwar police station to file a first information report, or FIR, against maulanas or clerics, who they alleged have been conspiring against Hindus and should be punished. No FIR was filed though, the police said.
A mobile video of the meeting with the police officer, Rakesh Kathait, shows several participants of the controversial Haridwar event – Hindu Raksha Sena’s Prabodhanand Giri, who organised the “dharma sansad”; religious leader Yati Narasimhanand, Pooja Shakun Pandey aka “Sadhvi Annapurna”; Anand Swaroop, head of a body named Shankaracharya Parishad, and Waseem Rizwi alias Jitendra Narayan. Three of them have been named in a FIR filed by the Uttarakhand Police in the Haridwar hate speech case.
“You should send a message that you are not biased,” Pooja Shakun Pandey aka “Sadhvi Annapurna” says in the video, pointing at the police officer who is holding a copy of their complaint against maulanas. “You are a public officer and you should treat everyone equally. That is what we expect from you. May you always win,” she says.
Yati Narasimhanand, who is standing at the side, says, “Ladka humare taraf hoga (he will be on our side).”
Then everyone in the room burst out laughing, while the police officer smiles and nods sideways.
Clips from the Haridwar event — held from December 17 to 20 — were circulated on social media and drew sharp criticism from former military chiefs, activists and even international tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
Those who organised the event and gave the hate speeches maintain that they have done no wrong.
“I am not ashamed of what I have said. I am not afraid of police. I stand by my statement,” Prabodhanand Giri — photographed often with BJP leaders including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Uttarakhand counterpart Pushkar Dhami — told NDTV on December 23.
Another video from the controversial meet shows Pooja Shakun Pandey urging violence against Muslims. “If you want to finish them off, then kill them… We need 100 soldiers who can kill 20 lakh of them to win this,” she says.
The police complaint against them was filed by Trinamool Congress leader and Right to Information, or RTI, activist Saket Gokhale.