Delhi High Court Women Lawyers Forum Thursday sent a letter petition to the Chief Justice of India bringing his attention to the circulation of hate speech videos in connection with the Nuh violence and seeking to direct the Haryana government to prevent such incidents and take action against the offenders.
The letter petition, signed by 101 women lawyers, sought direction to the state government to track and ban videos that threaten to harm any community or places of worship or urge economic boycott of any community.
It said that the hate speech videos are circulating on social media which purport to have been recorded at rallies in Haryana.
“In light of the recent events that have occurred in the Nuh region in Haryana, a deep concern has arisen due to videos that have surfaced on social media of hate speech and incitement of targeted violence, that are disrupting peace and harmony in our society,” the letter petition written to Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud said.
The women lawyers sought “urgent and expeditious” directions to Haryana to prevent incidents of hate speech and to take action against those who have perpetrated it, in violation of directions repeatedly issued by the Supreme Court.
The letter petition also referred to the recent suo motu cognisance taken by the Punjab and Haryana High Court which issued directions staying illegal demolitions by the state and expressed concern on whether the buildings belonging to a particular community are being brought down under the guise of law and order.
The swift and sensitive approach of the court has gone a long way in building confidence of citizens in the rule of law, it said.
“Despite such repeated guidelines and directions (of the Supreme Court), the unprecedented incidents of hate speech in Nuh and other districts, reveal a comprehensive failure on the part of the State Administration and Police to implement preventive measures, as well as, to have appropriate responsive measures during, and after, these incidents of hate speech,” the letter petition said.
It said that unchecked hate speech in rallies and speeches not only carry the risk of inciting violence but also, foster and spread an environment and culture of communal fear, harassment, and discrimination.
The concern is magnified by the fact that the videos circulating on social media show individuals carrying arms in processions and chanting communal slogans in contravention of the Constitution, the Arms Act and the law laid down by the Supreme Court through its rulings, the letter said.
“Yet, there doesn’t seem to be any verification of these videos, and action against persons indulging in such acts. This is a dangerous threat to social harmony and the rule of law in India. If allowed unchecked, it might be impossible to control this growing trend of hate and violence,” it added.
The letter further said that as women, mothers, and officers of the court, “we feel a strong commitment to communal harmony, rule of law and with this sense of responsibility we have approached your Lordship for the following directions to the State Government “
Six people, including two home guards and a cleric, were killed in the communal clashes that first erupted in Nuh when a Vishva Hindu Parishad procession was attacked by mobs on July 31. The communal clashes later spread to Gurugram and some other places close to the national capital.