Ex-servicemen file PIL in SC against hate speech

A group of ex-servicemen have filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking a new Special Investigation Team to investigate the hate speeches delivered during a religious convention at Haridwar and Delhi in December.

Maj.Gen Sudhir G. Vombatkere (retd), a resident of Mysuru and who is the first petitioner, said that the PIL was filed on Saturday and the other petitioners are Col.P.K. Nair (retd) and Major Priyadarshi Chowdhury (retd).

Vombatkere, who fought in the 1965 war against Pakistan in the Sialkot sector, said in the petition that they were compelled to approach the Supreme Court because the inflammatory, seditious and divisive speeches made violate not only the criminal law of the land but also strike at the core of Article 19 of the Constitution.

The petitioners said such incidents, if unchecked, will adversely affect the cohesion of the Indian Armed Forces and endanger national security.

The petition cited portions from the hate speeches in which the speakers at the convention had called upon the police and the army to take up arms against the minorities, and said this is particularly disturbing to the petitioners who have each served the country’s armed forces for decades.

‘’It is believed that such unchecked cries inciting violence against specific communities can have a serious impact on the morale and integration of the soldiers in the armed forces who come from diverse communities and religions’’, said the petitioners.

The petition prayed that the court invoke its extraordinary jurisdiction to constitute a new SIT to function under its supervision on the grounds that the existing SIT comprised low ranking members of the local police which operate under the aegis of the State Government. ‘’In a matter of such public importance and impact it is necessary that an SIT is constituted consisting of independent and high ranking officials’’, said the petition.

Pointing out that the most certain test by which one can judge whether a country was free or not is the amount of security enjoyed by the minorities, the petitioners said that the unlawful speeches at the events in Haridwar and Delhi threatened the constitutional values of the country besides cutting a sorry figure for the nation internationally.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 1:49:58 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ex-servicemen-file-pil-in-sc-againsthate-speech/article38274881.ece