Yogi’s Hate Speech: Gorakhpur Court Overlooks SC’s Notice to UP Govt, Orders FIR Against Petitioner

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Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. — File photo

Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI — While the 2007 hate speech case against Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, lies pending before the Supreme Court of India, the police has lodged an FIR against the petitioner of the case – Parvez Parvaz on the order of Gorakhpur District Magistrate Court, for allegedly “producing a doctored video as evidence” against Adityanath. The court order was issued on December 14 while hearing a 2016 plea by BJP leader YD Singh.

Activist Parvaz, one of the petitioners against CM Adityanath, the then Gorakhpur MP and four other BJP leaders including Anju Chaudhary, the then mayor of the city, then MLC YD Singh, current MLA of Gorakhpur city Radhamohan Das Agarwal and current junior finance minister of the state Shiv Pratap Shukla. He had accused all of them of delivering hate speech and inciting communal riots in the region after a clash has erupted during a Muharram procession in January 2007 in which reportedly 10 people had died. Following which Adityanath had been arrested and sent to police custody for 11 days.

All about the case

Following Parvaz’s complaint, the then Chief Minister of UP, Akhilesh Yadav, got the case transferred to the Crime Branch of CID (CB-CID) of the state police in 2008. This led both Parvaz and co-petitioner, activist Asad Hayat, file a petition in Allahabad High Court, seeking a fair probe by an independent agency into the hate speech and rioting case.

In 2013, CB-CID inferred that the voice in the speech was indeed of Adityanath. In 2015, the agency had submitted its Draft Final Report (DFR) to the state government and sought its sanction to initiate prosecution against Adityanath under IPC section 153-A and 295 of the IPC but the SP government sat on the decision for two years. Once BJP came into power in March 2017 led by none other than Adityanath himself, the permission was obviously denied. Following the change in government, it is being maintained by many that the CID has also softened its stance in this case.

In May 2017, when the Allahabad high court pulled up the state’s BJP government for delaying sanction to the CB-CID to prosecute the accused persons, it informed the court that it had refused to do so because the forensic report on the DVD of the video produced had indicated that the evidence had been tampered with and that thus the probing agency had filed a closure report in the case.

The curious case of CB-CID not getting sanction

Talking to Caravan Daily about the DVD submitted by CB-CID during SP government, the counsel of Parvaz, Adv. Farman Ali Naqvi said, “In that report, CB-CID, wrote that with the evidence they had collected, the case of offence is made out against the accused persons but due to an impediment, sanction for prosecution under section 153 A and 295 of IPC, is required. If a sanction is granted by the state government then the prosecution may proceed.”

Adv. Naqvi further added that prior to March 2017, before Adityanath became the CM, nowhere in the CB-CID report there was any mention about the forensic lab findings.

“Nowhere there was any mention of any forensic lab report. They (CB-CID) had submitted a simple report without referring to this forensic lab. Then this ‘fact’ came into light after the BJP government came into power. It was mentioned that a lab report was lying with the government since 2015 which says that DVD is doctored. Interestingly, the date of the report dated back to the time when the SP government was in power.”

Citing an affidavit filed by the state Home Secretary which dates back to May 11, 2017, Adv. Naqvi questioned, “I don’t know whether that report was with the SP government but if it was there then why was it not submitted in the court?”

He added another surprising point. As per the forensic report submitted before the court, no direct sample of Adityanath’s voice has taken. “Unless taking direct voice sample then how can they say that it is not his voice,” Adv. Naqvi asked.

Highlighting another aspect of voice examination, Adv. Naqvi informed that as per the agency report the Investigating Officer (IO) rather than taking the voice sample of Adityanath took another recording of his speech to tally with the alleged hate speech recorded in the DVD.

“So, who will identify that recording of the speech collected by the IO is of the same person?” he questioned.

Why didn’t Yogi govt reply to the SC notice?

In February, earlier this year, HC had rejected the petitioners’ appeal. Following which the petitioners approached the Supreme Court in August, this year. A bench comprising former Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud issued a notice to the UP government to respond within four weeks on their petition wanting CM Adityanath to be prosecuted.

Adv. Naqvi added that despite SC’s notice the government is yet to send a reply in response.

Can Magistrate Court supersede SC?

Adv. Naqvi learnt that perhaps Gorakhpur court has unknowingly ordered the Police to file FIR against Parvaz. According to him, it seemed that the information was concealed from the court that the petition in the matter is pending in the apex court.

“An FIR has been lodged on the basis of a forensic lab report. That report was to some extent accepted by the High Court but its technical examination and its validity are under challenge at the Supreme Court, unless SC decides or confirms it then it can prove that Parvaz might have tampered with the DVD. So, how can magistrate supersede over the SC awaiting decision?” Adv Naqvi questioned.

Is Parvaz being framed to protect CM Adityanath?

Parvaz, 65, since June 2018, is lodged in jail in connection with a gang rape case. Terming the FIR on the plea of BJP leader and gang rape case filed against Parvaz as a “part of conspiracy”, Rihai Manch (RM) an eminent group of social activists has maintained that the main accused in that case got stay order in June by the High Court while Parvaz was illegally framed despite the final report submitted by police states that no evidence has been found against him.

Reacting on the FIR against Parvaz, RM stated, “All this is happening by bypassing the law on the direction of Yogi Adityanath. This is to pressurize Parvaz to take back his petition.” RM has also alleged that Parvaz’s family is also getting threats by the local police.

It is to be noted that YD Singh had filed the same plea before a Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Gorakhpur in 2015 which had been rejected by the court.

SC’s order for another plea in hate speech case

In September, this year a separate plea was filed by petitioner Rasheed Khan. Following which, SC directed a Gorakhpur’s magistrate court “to pass appropriate orders in accordance with law” on the petition seeking prosecution of CM Adityanath in connection with the same hate speech case (2007) that led to rioting.

 

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