Yati Narsinghanand – one of the religious leaders who organised an event in Haridwar last month that called for the genocide of Muslims – was arrested on Saturday, becoming the second person to be taken into custody following an intervention by the Supreme Court.
Jitendra Narayan Singh Tyagi, who was Waseem Rizvi before he converted, was the first accused to be arrested in the hate speech case involving the Haridwar “Dharma Sansad” or religious assembly.
Over the last two weeks, the saffron-robed Narsinghanand has gone from cackling with cops about how a police officer “will be on our side” to cursing them – “all of you will die,” he said on Thursday after the first arrest.
Narsinghanand is among more than 10 people named in the FIRs lodged over speeches that called for genocide and the use of arms against Muslims. Besides him and Tyagi, the police have also taken an interest in another religious leader Sadhvi Annapurna under immense pressure.
The first arrest in the case came nearly a month after the event, only after the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Uttarakhand government to submit an affidavit within 10 days on action taken in the case.
Clips from the Haridwar event — held from December 17 to 20 — were circulated on social media and drew sharp criticism from former military chiefs, retired judges, activists and even international tennis legend Martina Navratilova.
Those who organised the event and gave the hate speeches maintain that they have done no wrong.
“I am not ashamed of what I have said. I am not afraid of police. I stand by my statement,” Prabodhanand Giri — photographed often with BJP leaders including Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Uttarakhand counterpart Pushkar Dhami — told NDTV on December 23.