“Whiskey mai Vishnu base, rum mai Sri Ram, jinme mata Janki, aur tharre mai Hanuman, siyavar Ramchandra ki Jai!”
Above are the lines or “shaayri” we may say, of Samajwadi Party member of Parliament, Mr. Naresh Agarwal. This person Naresh Agarwal(himself a Hindu) had the audacity on the floor of the Rajya Sabha to make such ghastly, distasteful and disrespectful remarks. Apparently Mr. Naresh Agarwal was discussing communal violence and cow vigilantism when suddenly he remembered these lines and very casually blurted out this rubbish. It is hard to believe that the people of India choose such men to represent them in Parliament. I shall contrast the violence at Basirhat, West Bengal and the action of the police to arrest the teenage boy with what Mr Naresh Agarwal said in the Rajya Sabha on the 19th of July, 2017.
Do you remember Basirhat? And do you remember the alleged cause of the violence at Basirhat? I will remind you. A class 11 teenage boy had allegedly posted a disrespectful, photoshopped image of Prophet Mohammed on Facebook. The screenshot of the post went viral in the area triggering anger within the Muslim community. And hence occured the Basirhat riots. Since the boy wasn’t an ‘MP’ and a parliamentarian from a self-styled secular party, he was arrested and booked for hurting the sentiments of the Muslim community.
While nothing can justify what the boy did, because no one has the right to hurt the religious sentiments of any community, doesn’t the same apply for Naresh Agarwal? Is it that what he said was less infuriating? Did it not hurt the sentiments of millions of Hindus?
But what action has been taken against this man? A mere apology has been submitted by him. And that is where it all ends. No one will arrest him and no one will book him under law. Why? Because the Honorable speaker of the Rajya Sabha expunged his words. As such, heavy questions are raised towards the law of the country, which will not take it’s own due course as in the case Naresh Agarwal, despite him being a mature and well-experienced man(which he doesn’t seem to be any longer). The same law will come down heavily on teenagers and immature citizens, only because there is no one to expunge what they did or said.
The following sections of the IPC can be slapped on anyone who disrespects the sentiments of any community. I see no reason why Naresh Agarwal must be spared of the following charges:
a)-Section 504:- Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace
Whoever intentionally insults, and thereby gives provocation to any person, intending or knowing it to be likely that such provocation will cause him to break the public peace, or to commit any other offence, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.
b)-Section 153(A): Section 153A of the Indian penal code says,
Whoever (a) by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise, promotes or attempts to promote, on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, caste or community or any other ground whatsoever, disharmony or feelings of enmity, hatred or ill-will between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, or (b) commits any act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, and which disturbs or is likely to disturb the public tranquillity, . . . shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
c)-Section 295(A) : Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)
Whoever, with deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class of [citizens of India], [by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representations or otherwise], insults or attempts to insult the religion or the religious beliefs of that class, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to [three years], or with fine, or with both.