The Hindu Mahapanchayat organised at Burari grounds on Sunday wasn’t the first in recent times that saw many of the speakers resorting to hate speech in a large-scale public event. On August 8 last year, an event, the ‘Bharat Jodo’ (Unify India) rally was organised at Jantar Mantar where anti-Muslim slogans were raised. Nine persons were subsequently arrested on charges of promoting enmity between communities.
All nine are currently out on bail, and the police has filed a charge sheet in a Delhi court on in November 2021, according to a senior police officer. Some of them were engaging online using communally sensitive language.
Now, it has emerged that two of those involved in the August event were also associated with the Mahapanchayat held in Burari, as corroborated by the police and the literature of the event.
Those arrested in the Jantar Mantar case are: Supreme Court lawyer and former BJP Spokesperson Ashwini Upadhyay, Hindu Army chief Sushil Kumar Tiwari, Hindu Raksha Dal chief Pinky Chaudhary and members Uttam Malik alias Uttam Upadhyay and Deepak Kumar, Save India Foundation chief Preet Singh, Hindu Force member Deepak Singh, Sudarshan Vahini member Vinod Sharma and Mahakal Youth Brigade’s Vinit Kranti.
The officers investigating the Burari event have identified Preet Singh, member of the Save India Foundation’s (SIF’s), as one of the organisers of the event. Pinki Chaudhary of the Hindu Raksha Dal has been named as a promoter of the event in various posters of the Mahapanchayat.
Preet Singh shared the poster of the event on Save India Foundation’s Twitter account as far back as January 2. In a video invite shared on social media, the text said, “Bharat Bachao Andolan Ke Sangharsh Main Sahyog Karein (Help in the Save India Movement)”. In the video, a male voice can be heard demanding five laws during the “movement” including ‘Religious conversion control law’ and ‘Intruders Control Law’.
Among several communally sensitive posts on Singh’s and SIF’s many social media platforms, one was a screenshot of a Hindi news report titled ‘Muslim-Christian population increases in 9 out of 6 states’ along with a text shared by SIF’s account which urged people to come out of their houses on April 3 and raise their voice.
Chaudhary, another Jantar Mantar accused who is out on bail, mentioned the April 3 event on his social media many times over the last few months.
The August 9 rally was called by Ashwini Upadhyay to allegedly demand the end of ‘colonial-era laws’. Several videos of the event went viral, including one showing a group, led by a man wearing a saffron T-shirt, raising anti-Muslim inflammatory slogans. He was later identified as Uttam Malik.
Upadhyay had then refuted the allegations and said, “We started our event at 11am and left after concluding it at noon, because the crowd had started swelling up. No inflammatory slogans were raised during our event. If the video is genuine, I believe that the sloganeering may have happened either before our event or afterwards. I learnt about the video around 8pm on Sunday, when it was circulated on social media and some people started tagging me with intent to defame me. I don’t know the people sloganeering in the video, have never met them, nor they were called for the event,” said Upadhyay said at that time.
Back then, Delhi Police lodged a case under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups), 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and 51 for violation of DDMA Act pertaining to violation of Covid-19 guidelines.