Hate Speech Beda (Campaign Against Hate Speech) a Bangalore-based group working towards challenging hate speech and making media spaces online accountable and safer has submitted a complaint to the Director-General of Police (DGP) demanding action against Sharan Pumpwell, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Karnataka State President for his open call for violence.
On August 9, the VHP leader while addressing a press conference in Mangalore made communal remarks inciting further stigmatization and violence against Muslims. He also accused the Muslim communities baselessly of undertaking terrorist activities. During the speech, the far-right organisations’s leader also mentioned ‘Love Jihad’ which the BJP has been employing all across the country to target inter-religious marriages.
On the same day, he has also informed the press that violent demonstrations might occur in a day or two.
Following the deliberate effort from Pumpwell to spread hatred against Muslims, Hate Speech Beda in its letter to the state police said that his “speech needs to be seen in the context of various similar instances of hate speech across the country.”
On Sunday, in a rally organised by BJP leader Ashwini Upadhyay in the national capital, anti-Muslim slogans calling for violence against the community and annihilation of Islam were made.
The group has demanded an FIR to be lodged against Pumpwell and the organiser of the Press Conference under sections 153 A, 153 B, 295A, and 505 (2) for spreading enmity, spreading rumours, outraging religious feelings, and spreading ill-will between religions among other things.
With BJP coming to power at the Union, the country has witnessed an exponential increase in mob violence against marginalised communities particularly Muslims and Dalits, many of which have followed inflammatory speeches by right-wing Hindu leaders. In this context, hate speech must be taken seriously given several instances where it has manifested in violence.
As you can see, Campaign against hate speech takes hate speech in Karnataka very very seriously.
We hope the Director General of Police will be initiating action against Sharan Pumpwell at the earliest. pic.twitter.com/XuF9gUXOOv
— Hate Speech Beda (@HateSpeechBeda) August 10, 2021
The group’s letter also states that recent years in Coastal Karnataka have been witness to an increase in communal incidents. “This blatant demonization and dehumanization of the Muslim community both in Karnataka and other parts of the country is an affront to the rule of law and the very spirit of the Indian Constitution,” the letter reads.
Hate Speech Beda (Campaign Against Hate Speech) has intervened legally in other instances of hate speech in media and online spaces and further the aim of media accountability. Previously the campaign had sent in complaints against three news channels News18Kannada, AsianetNews, and TimesNow for their hateful coverage of TablighiJamaat and targetting of the Muslim community during the pandemic. Based on their complaints, recently the News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) has issued orders against all three news channels.