SC orders enhanced deployment of security forces, crackdown on hate speech

New Delhi: With communal clashes claiming six lives in parts of Haryana close to Delhi, the Supreme Court Wednesday ordered enhanced deployment of security personnel in sensitive areas and a crackdown on hate speech but refused to stop the proposed rallies by VHP and Bajrang Dal in the NCR.

Observing that hate speech vitiate the atmosphere, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and S V Bhatti also ordered installation of CCTV cameras in vulnerable places.

The CCTV footage and the video recording will be preserved, the apex court said.

“During the course of hearing, it is accepted and admitted that the directions given in the order dated October 21, 2022, as extended have to be complied.

“We hope and trust that the state governments, including the police authorities, will ensure that there are no hate speeches against any community and there is no violence or damage to properties. Wherever required, adequate police force or paramilitary forces will be deployed,” the bench said.

The top court directed that the order be communicated by the Registry to the standing counsel for the state governments of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.

The apex court directed Additional Solicitor General S V Raju, appearing for the Centre, to immediately get in touch with authorities and ensure no untoward incident takes place anymore.

Raju submitted he has not gone through the averments made in the plea and sought time from the court to seek instructions.

Reiterating that rule of law has to be maintained, the top court said,”This cannot be treated as an adversarial litigation. The law and order is basically a policing issue which must be taken care of. The apex court has posted the matter for hearing on Friday.

The top court passed the order after senior advocate C U Singh, appearing for journalist Shaheen Abdullah, said 23 demonstrations have been announced by Hindu right groups Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal in various parts of the National Capital Region (NCR).

He mentioned the matter before Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and sought urgent hearing, after which it was assigned to the bench of Justices Khanna and Bhatti.

Holding that the Constitution of India envisages a secular nation, the top court had on October 21 last year directed Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand to promptly register criminal cases against those making hate speeches without waiting for a complaint to be filed.

Six people, including two home guards, have died in the communal violence which first broke out in Nuh after a mob tried to stop a VHP procession on July 31.

Incidents of violence and arson were also reported from Palwal, Faridabad and Gurugram, areas that are close to Delhi.

As many as 116 people have been arrested so far, according to the Haryana government.

VHP and Bajrang Dal activists held protests at multiple places in the national capital on Wednesday against the communal violence, causing traffic jams in several parts of the city.

Police have beefed up security at sensitive places in the national capital in the wake of the incidents.

Protests by the two Hindu right outfits caused traffic jams on Vikas Marg which connects east Delhi to the central parts of the city.

Videos on social media showed Bajrang Dal supporters reciting Hanuman Chalisa near Nirman Vihar Metro Station. Later, they tried to block Vikas Marg but were dispersed by police.

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