Dehradun: The Haridwar Police on Saturday arrested seer Yati Narsinghanand in connection with hate speeches made at a three-day-long Dharm Sansad in Haridwar on December 17-19.
This is the second arrest in the hate speech case after public uproar as videos of the event were widely circulated on social media and the Supreme Court sought a response from the state government on what it had done about the speeches. On January 13, the Uttarakhand Police arrested Jitendra Narayan Tyagi, the former Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board chairman who until last month went by the name Waseem Rizvi, in connection with the case.
Narsinghanand is the sect chief of the influential Juna Akhada, and one of the five accused named in the FIR.
Circle officer (Haridwar), Shekhar Chandra Suyal, confirmed the arrest, saying: “Narsinghanand was arrested in Haridwar on Saturday night as part of the case which was registered against him on Thursday.”
“Narsinghanand would be presented before the local court on Sunday. A probe is on in the case and proper action would be taken as per law,” he added.
During the Dharm Sansad, some participants had called for violence against religious minorities while one of the speakers said he wished to shoot former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
The FIR, filed by the police on December 23, initially listed only one accused, Tyagi. On December 25, names of Pooja Shakun Pandey alias Annapurna Maa, and Dharamdas Maharaj, a general secretary of the Hindu Mahasabha, were added. On January 1, police added the names of event organiser Narsinghanand and Sagar Sindhu Maharaj. Another case was registered the following day against Tyagi over the same incident.
A second case was also lodged against Narsinghanand at a Haridwar police station on charges of insulting religious beliefs, and making derogatory remarks about women. The complaint was filed by a third-year law student Ruchika (who goes by her first name), police said. Narsinghanand, who is based at Dasna Temple in Ghaziabad, said that he did not say anything that offended or insulted women.