Swarajya has been reporting on heated protests and provocative slogans raised across India against a “blasphemous” statement by a person from Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad district in February.
The person, Yati Narsinghanand Saraswati, is a self-styled Hindutva activist and priest of a private temple in Ghaziabad’s Dasna area. At a gathering in New Delhi’s Press Club, he criticised Prophet Mohammed.
(Swarajya is not reproducing the content of his statement as even quoting ‘blasphemous’ content against Prophet Mohammed has resulted in murders in the recent past.)
Narasinghanand’s statement resulted in several police cases against him registered across the country, including in Delhi where a first information report (FIR) was filed on a complaint by Aam Aadmi party MLA Amanatullah Khan.
VbSeveral rallies have also taken place in protest of Narasinghanand, where participants have been openly seen raising slogans of “Gustakh-E-Rasool ki ek hi saza, sar tan se juda, sar tan se juda”[There is only one punishment for speaking against the Prophet and that is beheading] were raised repeatedly.
The call for beheading of Narasinghanand over blasphemy was first given by Amanatullah Khan through a tweet, but the post was taken off by Twitter after a day.
The protests have now crossed the Indian border. A video has emerged on the social media, where a group of men, introducing themselves from Bangladesh, are staging a protest against Narasinghanand.
The video, uploaded by several Facebook pages in the last couple of days, shows a group of men standing in a queue. The man leading them says the place is Dinajpur in Bangladesh, and they have gathered after Friday prayers.
The man goes on to threaten “Hindus” that unless they collectively apologise for Narasinghanand’s statements, the community will see bodies all around that won’t even get a cremation ground. He says that the reason why “Delhi” is running out of space for cremating the dead is the blasphemous statement by “Hindutvawadi” Narasinghanand.
Hindus must apologise to Allah’s Prophet or their bodies will be left for kites and crows to feed on, says the man.
Watch the video here:
He also invites Narasinghanand to accept Islam. “Read kalma and become a Muslim, if you want salvation [‘mukti’],” he says.
It is pertinent to mention here that Bangladesh recently saw violent agitations by hardline Islamist groups against visit by Indian prime minister Narendra Modi. The same group, Hefazat-e-Islam, has been demanding a blasphemy law in Bangladesh on the same lines as Pakistan, where insult to Prophet Mohammed is punishable by death.
The group has been found involved in 2013 violence in Bangladesh over demanding death penalty for blasphemy.
Pakistan itself recently saw violent agitations over the issue of blasphemy with “sar tan se juda” slogans roaring in its streets.
It is pertinent to mention here that after a “blasphemous” statement by Uttar Pradesh’s resident Kamlesh Tiwari in 2015, similar agitations were carried across India as well as Bangladesh and Pakistan. Tiwari, who stayed in jail for about a year under the stringent National Security Act (NSA) was later killed in Lucknow by radicals from Gujarat in 2019.
Tiwari’s is said to be the first killing over blasphemy in independent India.
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