Hindu priest Yati Narsighnanad alias Deepak Tyagi was on January 15 arrested by the Uttarakhand Police in two separate cases — the Haridwar hate speech in which calls were made for genocide against Muslims, and another case registered recently for derogatory remarks against women, according to the State Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar.
The arrest comes days after the Supreme Court sent a notice to the Centre, the Uttarakhand Police and the Delhi Police to respond to petitions that people accused of delivering hate speeches at a “Dharm Sansad” (religious conclave) organised in Haridwar had not been arrested yet. The case is expected to come up for hearing later this week.
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The police have so far arrested two of the five accused in the hate speech case.
Mr. Kumar told The Hindu that Narsinghanand, also one of the organisers of the religious event, was named in a separate first information report (FIR) registered on January 12 for making derogatory and abusive remarks against women. The case was registered under Section 509 of the IPC (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).
He said the accused was served a notice under Section 41A of the CrPC (when police may arrest without a warrant) on January 14, and that he would join the investigations whenever called by the police.
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“When he did not honour the notice, he was arrested in both the cases — for hate speech and making derogatory remarks against women. We sought his judicial remand from court and he has been sent to 14 days judicial custody,” Mr. Kumar said.
A senior police officer said his police custody was not sought as it was not required for investigations at this stage.
The police had so far refrained from making any arrests in the case owing to several Supreme Court orders and observations that bar the police from arresting persons in cases where the maximum possible sentence for an offence is seven years or less, a senior government official said.
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In a video of Wasim Rizvi alias Jitendra Narayan Tyagi that went viral after the Special Investigation Team (SIT) made its first arrest in the case on January 13, Narsinghanand is seen threatening and abusing the police.
The Haridwar police had on December 23 registered a case under Section 153A of the IPC (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), entailing a maximum punishment of five years after video clips of the December 17 event went viral. On January 1, it added Section 295A of the Indian Penal Code to the existing FIR. The Section prescribes a maximum of three years imprisonment for “deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs”.
It initially named only one accused — Wasim Rizvi alias Jitendra Narayan Tyagi — a former chairman of the Uttar Pradesh Shia Waqf Board, who had recently converted to Hinduism. Later, it added the names of four other accused — Narsinghanand, Annapurna Maa alias Pooja Shakun Pandey, Dharamdas Maharaj, and Sagar Sindhu Maharaj.
Narsinghanand, the head priest at Dasna temple in Ghaziabad , faces several FIRs in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi for similar offences.