Baba Ramdev asked by HC to appear before probe officer in hate speech case

ByMukesh Mathrani
Sep 13, 2023 04:47 AM IST

The Rajasthan high court has also extended the interim stay on Baba Ramdev’s arrest, granted to him on April 13, till October 16.

The Rajasthan high court on Monday directed Yoga guru Baba Ramdev to appear before the investigating officer in a hate speech case on October 5 and extended the interim stay on his arrest, granted to him on April 13, till October 16.

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev (HT File Photo/ Sunil Ghosh)
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev (HT File Photo/ Sunil Ghosh)

The bench of justice Kuldeep Mathur also directed Ramdev to appear before the investigating officer as and when called by him for interrogation and instructed the government advocate to keep the case diary available for the court’s perusal on the next date of hearing on October 16.

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Senior advocate Dhirendra Singh Daspa appeared on behalf of Baba Ramdev.

Ramdev had earlier filed a petition praying for the quashing of the first information report (FIR) on his alleged anti-Muslim remarks made on February 2 at a religious event in Rajasthan’s Barmer.

Also Read: Treat hate speeches against any religion alike: Supreme Court

A video of his speech, where he purportedly accused the Muslims of committing “terrorist acts” and “abducting Hindu women”, had also surfaced on social media.

On February 5, the Barmer police lodged a FIR against Ramdev after Pathai Khan, a resident of Dhanau in Chohtan, lodged a complaint against him.

The complainant alleged that Ramdev had deliberately made such statements to incite the religious sentiments of Muslims and to create a feeling of enmity and hatred among other religions or communities towards the Muslim community.

“Ramdev’s statement in presence of thousands of people has hurt the sentiments of crores of people who believe in Islam,” the FIR stated.

The Chohtan Police in Barmer filed a case under sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion), 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or beliefs) and 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The Muslims in Barmer had also staged a protest against Ramdev’s remarks, alleging that he had tried to disturb the communal harmony in the border district. The community members also gave a memorandum to the district collector demanding action against him.

However, complainant Pathai Khan later claimed that he had no idea about the complaint, and he had been duped by his lawyer.

Khan claimed that his lawyer called him regarding a case related to a land dispute and during that he got his signature on the complaint against Ramdev. He said that he is illiterate, and he does not want any further action in this case. Khan claimed that he had also given a memorandum to the district collector and the superintendent of police (SP) in this regard.

However, the then Barmer SP Deepak Bhargav said that once the FIR is lodged, one cannot withdraw it and police will act accordingly to the complaint.

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